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Synlait's plan on water should be rejected

17 May 2006

Synlait's plan on water should be rejected

Dairy farming company Synlait's plan to use Rakaia River water allocated to other farmers could jeopardise any future chances for improving the system of sharing out Canterbury's water resources, the Green Party says.

"Their plan is a blatant bid to pre-empt the outcome of the Programme of Action on Water, Environment Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

It was revealed today that Synlait is proposing a monitoring system that would allow it to take further irrigation water from the Rakaia River. It has applied for the rights to allocated, but unused, water to develop a further 6000 hectares of land for dairy farming.

"This would undermine the review of water allocation method currently being undertaken as part of the Programme of Action on Water," Nandor says.

"The Greens have said that water allocation decisions must take into account not just the impact of extracting the water from the river, but the environmental effects of its use. Synlait's plan will not do that.

"The development of national environmental standards (as part of the Programme of Action) must include the issue of water contaminants. Most activities that impact on water quality have to go through a resource consent process. Converting land use to dairy does not, but impacts on water quality should be able to be taken into account when deciding water allocation, and mitigation of those impacts should be a prerequisite.

"It is clear that Synlait is trying to ensure that it already has its foot in the door when the framework changes. Their plan should be rejected." Nandor says.


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