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Buller Water Conservation Order Tribunal

Buller Water Conservation Order Tribunal

A special tribunal has been appointed to consider an application to amend the Buller River Water Conservation Order, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

The special tribunal will consider an application from Majac Trust to alter the minimum flow regime on the Gowan River, a tributary of the Buller River. The Trust would like to apply for a resource consent for enough water to operate a hydroelectric power scheme from the Gowan River.

A team of three experts have been appointed to the tribunal. The members are Richard Fowler (Chair), Dr Mike Johnston and Laurel Tierney.

"The members will bring a range of skills and expertise in RMA hearing procedures to this inquiry such as legal, geological and freshwater fisheries experience," Marian Hobbs said.

The tribunal will publicly notify the application, call for submissions, conduct an inquiry and report to the minister.

"This is the first application I have received to amend a Water Conservation Order and I wish the Tribunal well with their inquiry," Marian Hobbs added.

The Buller Water Conservation Order 2001 provides varying degrees of protection for parts of the Buller River and its tributaries, which are considered to have outstanding characteristics.
Water Conservation Orders are set up to recognise and sustain waters that are considered to be outstanding as a habitat or fishery, or for scenic, scientific or recreational values.

Members of the Special Tribunal

Richard Fowler Richard Fowler, specialises in resource management law, environmental law, defamation, public law and local government advice and litigation. Richard has been a commissioner on a number of resource management hearings mainly in the Nelson/Tasman area.

Dr Mike Johnston Dr Mike Johnston, a geologist by profession has a wide range of local government experience. Mike is an experienced hearings commissioner and recently chaired the Mapua site remediation hearings. Mike was also the Chair for the original Buller River Water Conservation Order tribunal.

Laurel Tierney Laurel Tierney has considerable experience as a researcher and manager of New Zealand’s freshwater fisheries. Laurel has worked with Ngai Tahu on a cultural health index for streams and waterways. More recently, Laurel has acted as facilitator of the Guardians of Fiordland and assisted in the development of the Fiordland Conservation Strategy.

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