Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Canterbury water decision sends confusing message

25 August 2005

Court's Canterbury water decision sends confusing message

The Environment Court is sending a confused message on water conservation in its ruling reported today on a controversial water consent in Canterbury, Green Associate Environment Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

The decision coincides with Mrs Turei and Green Rakaia candidate Mojo Mathers meeting yesterday with local community and iwi representatives concerned by the poor state of nearby Te Waihora-Lake Ellesmere.

"Given that the Court's finding acknowledges the poor condition of the waterways feeding Te Waihora-Lake Ellesmere and rightfully criticises Environment Canterbury for it's poor record keeping of the water take in the area, why has it then allowed Lynton Dairies to take too much water anyway?" Mrs Turei asks.

"This snapshot of a particular regional water issue highlights a nationwide concern that the Greens have been raising for some time. With NIWA saying that 95 percent of our lowland rivers are unsuitable for swimming, it should be clear to everyone that a purely voluntary approach to waterways restoration is just not working.

"We do urge ECan to take the Court's findings seriously and implement all of its recommendations urgently. Several groups have been calling for metering of water takes to be mandatory for years now. It is just not possible to regulate water use if you do not even know how much is being used. "However we are perplexed by the Court's decision to grant Lynton Dairies' water consent, as any further dairying on Canterbury's shallow free-draining soils is just not sustainable. These 3300 extra cows will seriously compromise groundwater quality and downstream drinking water sources."

Ms Mathers says Te Waihora-Lake Ellesmere is regionally, nationally and internationally a highly significant wetland habitat for both birds and fish.

"Both Metiria and I were shocked at its poor condition yesterday. The grey-green colour, lack of riparian management and unrestricted access by stock to the water were all too apparent. It was clear to us that this was a lake on the brink of an ecological crisis.

"While the Court notes the impact of poor land use and waterway management, it says there is 'no probative evidence to support the alleged link between the abstractions in the Te Pirita area and the effect on the lowland streams'. Do we have to wait until all the wells run dry to get conclusive evidence of over-abstraction? This is a classic example of a situation where the precautionary principle should be applied. Rolling the dice and hoping that extracting a huge amount of water upstream won't impact on one of our greatest lakes is simply shortsighted.

"The Court stated that it was 'shocked' at the effluent smell coming from a number of the waterways. Local farmers should be embarrassed that this is the case after ECan's years of promoting responsible management of waterways through its living streams program," Ms Mathers says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news