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Special Tribunal On Buller Water Conserv. Order

Special Tribunal to Hear Application On Buller Water Conservation Order

The Minister for the Environment Marian Hobbs has annouced that she is to establish a Special Tribunal to hear an application to modify the Buller Water Conservation Order.

The Buller Water Conservation Order provides varying degrees of protection for parts of the Buller River and its tributaries, which are considered to have outstanding characteristics. The proposal affects the Gowan River a tributary of the Buller.

"An inquiry is necessary because the proposal will have more than minor effects on the Gowan River, in particular on rafting in the river," said Marian Hobbs.

The application from Majac Trust requests that the Order be amended to allow it to apply to the Tasman District Council for resource consent to divert water from the Gowan River for a Hydroelectric power scheme. The water would then be returned to the river approximately 3.5km before the Gowan and the Buller Rivers join.

"The Gowan is currently in a natural state. It appears that when the proposed power scheme is operating there will be less than half the volume of water in the river than there is currently, for at least half the year," said Marian Hobbs.

The members of the Special Tribunal will be appointed in early 2004, after which the tribunal will call for submissions on the proposal.

ENDS

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