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Government announces way forward for Waitaki Bill

1 June 2004

Government announces way forward for Waitaki Bill

The government has decided on a way forward with its special Waitaki Catchment legislation, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

"A statutory framework is needed to guide water allocation in the Waitaki Catchment, and the government will proceed with its plans to establish a Water Allocation Board to develop the framework," Marian Hobbs said.

"There are substantial competing demands for water in the catchment and a large number of applications for water permits that need to be addressed.

"There will be opportunities for public submissions and hearings on the draft framework. The remaining applications for resource consents to use Waitaki River water will stay on hold until the framework has been developed."

The bill will be amended to simplify the matters the Water Allocation Board must consider when preparing the water allocation framework.

"Under the amendments, the resource consent applications for water use will now be decided by the relevant regional or district council," Marian Hobbs said. "The withdrawal of Project Aqua means there are no longer several local authorities considering consent applications for the same proposal. This removes the need for a special panel of commissioners."

The original Bill was reported back to Parliament by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee on March 22 and had its second reading on March 25.

ENDS

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