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Government on Waitaki Water Allocation Plan

22 April 2005
Media Statement

Government on Waitaki Water Allocation Plan

“The government supports the general thrust of the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan but considers that the desired mix of environmental and other objectives will be better achieved through a more flexible regime,” Attorney General Michael Cullen said today.

Dr Cullen was commenting on the release of the Crown’s whole of government submission to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Board on the board’s draft plan.

“With respect to the lower Waitaki the government proposes that the board review its proposals to ensure that existing consented activities can continue.

“The board did not propose a minimum flow requirement immediately downstream of the dam but the government proposes one should be set at 120 cumecs. This would allow Meridian to continue to operate within its existing consent provisions.

“The government recognises that farmers who have irrigation schemes in operation or under construction also should be able to continue to operate within their existing consent provisions and has therefore suggested to the board that it review downwards its proposed provision that abstraction would be required to cease any time the flow fell below the seasonal variations of 200 or 230 cumecs.

“The health of the river is also affected,” Dr Cullen said.

The board is the final decision maker on the plan with a right of appeal to the High Court on points of law only.

“We look forward to the board’s deliberations on the submissions and the delivery of the final plan by 30 September. We are confident it will deliver the best outcomes for the Waitaki catchment and for New Zealand generally,” Dr Cullen said.

The submission, which covers a range of issues, is available on Dr Cullen’s website at www.beehive.govt.nz

ENDS

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