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Anger in Canterbury – Owen Jennings

Thursday 21st Oct 1999
Owen Jennings
Media Release -- Other

Canterbury farmers today expressed their anger at the way environmental issues have been taken to the extreme by DOC and environmental interests, threatening the development of dam and irrigation systems on the Canterbury plains.

The ACT Heartland Tour today held a meeting with farmers who were involved in the development of the Opuha dam. The farmers said DOC rules requiring minimum flows in all tributaries would make it impossible to get such projects under way in the future.

"Water is vital for future of Canterbury plains," Heartland Tour leader Owen Jennings said. "It is essential that Canterbury farmers are able to capture winter and spring rainfall for irrigation in the summer.

"The Resource Management Act is a nightmare for Canterbury farmers wanting to irrigate their land. It does not improve environmental outcomes, but simply adds costs delays and frustration."

ACT's rural team said today that building new storage dams down the spine of the Southern Alps to contain the high flows over the winter and spring for use on the wider Canterbury plains was vital for the future of agriculture and horticulture in the South Island.

"ACT supports a radical reform of the Resource Management Act to remove the costs frustrations and delay that occurred in the building of the Opuha dam in South Canterbury," Mr Jennings said.

Mr Jennings, ACT's rural spokesman, is leading a team of ACT farmers on a two-week tour around rural areas, on a listening tour aimed at providing sound leadership for the rural sector. He is joined by ACT candidates Penny Webster, Gerry Eckhoff, Andy Davies, all farmers on the ACT party list. The ACT Party has 12 full-time and 8 part-time farmers standing for election, making ACT the party most attuned to the needs of the New Zealand farming sector.

Tomorrow the ACT team heads south for public and farm meetings in Weston, Palmerston, Outram and Dunedin.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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