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Fast-Track Project Aqua Legislation A Fizzer

Fast-Track Project Aqua Legislation A Fizzer

Thursday 12 Feb 2004 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Environment & Conservation

All submitters before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee agree that the Project Aqua special legislation won't result in a better water allocation model for the Waitaki catchment, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Committee Member Ken Shirley said today.

"In fact, the process will likely be more cumbersome, taking longer than the existing Resource Management Act," Mr Shirley said.

"Yet, despite the evidence, Labour is vigorously pursuing a National Development Act look-alike, attempting to drive it through Parliament with indecent haste and lack of full scrutiny.

"The Government seems to be under the mistaken belief that this move will fast track water right approvals for State-owned Meridian Energy, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the catchment's water use.

"Submitters were justifiably perplexed by this lack of logic. They asked - if it is an obstacle for development projects - why not directly address the RMA's problems with generic changes, so that all can benefit from the perceived advantages of a streamlined process.

"What is ironic, is that it is now apparent that the process will not prove to be streamlined, and Labour will be hoist with its own petard. It is also interesting to note that business interests, environmental groups and legal advisors are all opposing this legislation.

"Several submitters point out that international best practice for water allocation strongly favours the adoption of a market model based on clear transferable property rights, which give better outcomes for both the water user and the environment.

"The Labour Government has clearly rejected this allocation method, placing us out of kilter with other OECD countries. Instead, it will create further bureaucratic tangles based on Ministerial dictates and political distortions," Mr Shirley said.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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