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Water Conservation Order for the Mohaka River

Water Conservation Order for the Mohaka River

The government has today approved a water conservation order for the Mohaka River in Hawke’s Bay to protect the river’s outstanding features, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs says.

"A water conservation order is the most effective way of ensuring the outstanding fishing, recreational and scenic characteristics of the river are not compromised, and are available to future generations," Marian Hobbs said.

The order comes into force on 17 December, and will clarify what the Mohaka River can be used for.

"The special features of the River include an outstanding trout fishery upstream of the State Highway 5 bridge and in the tributaries, scenic characteristics in the Mokonui Gorge and the Te Hoe Gorge, and water-based recreation from State Highway 5 bridge to Willow Flat."

The order states that no water permits may be granted to dam the waters specified in the order or to other waters in the Mohaka River system affecting those waters. However, an exception is where the dam does not detract from the outstanding features, is less than three metres in height, and is on a tributary.

Water permits may be granted for other uses provided that they do not detract from the outstanding characteristics and features described in the order. The order does not stop the use of water for domestic needs, the needs of animals, or fire fighting purposes.

Marian Hobbs acknowledged the time the process had taken since the original application for an order was made in 1987 by the then Council of North Island Acclimatisation Societies (now Fish and Game New Zealand).

"The Minister of Maori Affairs and I have met with Ngati Pahauwera, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Ministry for the Environment to discuss options within the Resource Management Act for increasing Ngati Pahauwera's involvement in the management of the river," Marian Hobbs said.

After thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant matters, including the Waitangi Tribunal’s Mohaka River Report, a Planning Tribunal recommendation and a Special Tribunal report, the minister concluded that an order was still needed.

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