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Hurunui WCO withdrawal signal of collaborative approach

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister for the Environment

20 December 2010
Media Statement

Hurunui WCO withdrawal signal of collaborative approach

The withdrawal of the application for a water conservation order on the Hurunui River by applicants Fish and Game and Whitewater New Zealand is a positive signal of a more collaborative approach to water management in North Canterbury, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

“We were set on a very litigious path involving three conflicting processes for a water conservation order, the major Hurunui irrigation project, as well as the decisions on Environment Canterbury’s Natural Resources Plan,” Dr Smith said. “The only winners in these separate processes being fought out in the courts were going to be the lawyers.

“I welcome this decision as an act of good faith by Fish and Game and Whitewater New Zealand as a commitment to the collaborative process under the new Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“Credit must also be given to the Environment Canterbury Commissioners, particularly Professor Peter Skelton, who have done an outstanding job in building a new culture of co-operation over water issues in Canterbury.

“The decision needs to be seen in the context of the two moratoria put in place by Environment Canterbury’s commissioners and supported by the Government on both the Hurunui and Waiau Rivers to halt new water take applications. The WCO withdrawal and moratorium provides a window of opportunity for a fresh approach.

“This decision is a significant and positive step forward in the debate over the sustainable development of Canterbury’s freshwater resources. The answer is not going to lie in pure conservation nor in unrestrained development but in a balanced approach that will be best found by parties working together.”

ENDS

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