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Baldock: UF backs Waitaki catchment Bill

Tuesday, 1 June, 2004

Baldock: UF backs Waitaki catchment Bill

The United Future caucus this morning decided to back the Government's proposed amendments to the post-Project Aqua version of the Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Bill, the party's environment spokesman, Larry Baldock announced this afternoon.

"Despite the sudden collapse of Project Aqua earlier this year, there are still many competing demands being made on the Waitaki River's limited water resource - including irrigation schemes, hydro-electricity, recreational uses and environmental considerations.

"The water allocation issue still needs sorting out - so this Bill remains an important and necessary piece of legislation," he said.

The simplified Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Bill should help bring certainty to all concerned, as well as set a precedent for resolving future resource management issues of this kind, Mr Baldock said.

"Also of importance, United Future has ensured that the scope of the Bill includes the environmental impact of water allocation decisions on the wider MacKenzie Basin area.

"We share the concerns of many local residents that current water allocations have resulted in the drying out of the MacKenzie Basin and could soon turn it into a dust bowl if nothing is done.

"It was important that this issue at least be on the table for discussion alongside other important considerations such as in-stream flows and amenity values," Mr Baldock said.

ENDS

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