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Parliament backs Waitaki legislation

Parliament backs Waitaki legislation

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs is welcoming majority support in Parliament today for the Waitaki Catchment legislation which aims to improve the decision-making process for applications to use water from the river. She criticised the National and ACT parties for playing party politics and opposing the bill.

The Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Bill was given a second reading in Parliament today with the Greens, New Zealand First and United Future supporting the government. The bill proposes to establish a Water Allocation Board to develop a water allocation framework for the catchment and a Panel of Commissioners to decide the significant resource consent applications.

"I welcome the wide-ranging support the bill received in the House today," Marian Hobbs said. "Most members appreciated the solution the legislation provides for resource consent applicants and the community.

"This is in stark contrast to National and Act whose strategy is to whip up discontent with anything associated with the Resource Management Act, even to the detriment of the people on the ground.

"Labour's approach towards the environment is to engage with individuals, communities and businesses to work through problems together to find solutions. I contrast this with National's and ACT's desire to create division and shut people out of the process.

"Rakaia MP Brian Connell admitted today that National would take an axe to the RMA, compromising good environmental outcomes and shutting local communities out of decision-making.

"The government introduced this bill to improve the process for decision-making in the Waitaki. Right through the process, the National Party has screamed that we are fast-tracking Project Aqua as the government's pet project. "The truth is that this process comes out of a special set of circumstances, and treats all applicants – publicly and privately owned – equally. Once again the National Party finds itself isolated in its stance over this issue."

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