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Waitaki catchment legislation will proceed

13 August 204 Media Statement

Waitaki catchment legislation will proceed

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs has rejected a call from Waitaki Valley residents to drop the Waitaki legislation.

The government will proceed with plans to establish a Water Allocation Board under the Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.

"Despite Meridian's announcement not to proceed with Project Aqua there are still substantial competing demands for water in the catchment and a large number of applications for water permits that need to be addressed," Marian Hobbs said. "A statutory framework to guide water allocation is needed and that's what the board will develop."

Marian Hobbs again rejected claims that the original bill had been designed to facilitate Project Aqua.

"In the absence of a water allocation plan, resource consent applications were being considered in a policy vacuum and the legislation was about ensuring an efficient, transparent decision-making process, which involves the community," Marian Hobbs said.

When Parliament again considers the legislation 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. "Meridian's decision not to proceed with 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."


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