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Hydro report threat to conservation

Hydro report threat to conservation

On the eve of Conservation Week, the Ministry of Economic Development has released a list of proposed hydroelectric schemes it believes are likely within the next 20 years, including the controversial West Coast Dobson scheme already rejected by the Government.

"Those of us who were around in the Muldoon years have seen it all before," said Forest and Bird's Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell.

"It is clear that the MED is nostalgic for the Ministry of Works and the National Development Act," he said.

"This report should be a wake up call to communities throughout the country on the implications of amending the Resource Management Act. If a 'national interest' clause is written into the RMA it'll be open slather on a river near you," he said.

"This is the new 'Think Big.' Many of these proposals - like Dobson - will only be possible by causing severe environmental damage. The authors of this report appear to have no concept of the environmental consequences of what they are proposing," he said.

"Its extraordinary that government officials are proposing further damage of our rivers when all the indicators show New Zealand's rivers are already in trouble. Last year's annual report on the Biodiversity Strategy predicted extinctions of freshwater species. Recently, a report was published revealing that most of New Zealand's lowland streams are too polluted to swim in. We want solutions to these problems, not more destruction," he said.

"There will be widespread unease in communities throughout New Zealand when people realise the full consequences of this report," he said. "Most of the high and medium confidence proposals will destroy local rivers for the amount of power a small wind farm with the latest wind turbines could generate1. Faced with losing a local river or having a small wind farm I know what most communities would choose," he said.

"It would be great if the MED and their engineers could come into the 21st Century," he said.


1. The latest Meridian wind turbines generate 1.65 MW each

Key rivers targeted in the report:

Northland Region

Purua Rapids


Waipapa River Waipa River

Bay of Plenty

Tarawera River Rangataiki River Waimana Ruakokore River


Mata River Waingakia Stream Waitahaia

Hawkes Bay

Wairoa and Mangapoike Rivers Mohaka River Ngaruroro River Tukituki River


Patea River


Mangawhero River Waimiha Stream Waimarino Stream Waikoura/Mangahuka Hautapu River Pohangina River


Waiohine River Waingawa River

Nelson Marlborough

Pelorus River Wairua River Waihopai River Awatere Waimea Wairoa

West Coast

Rough River Upper Grey Lower Grey Dobson (also mentioned Zeilian Creek, Moeraki River, Wanganui River, Te Naihi/Waiatoto, Taipo, Mahitahi, Lake Rochfort, Waiho/Tartare, Waimangaroa)


Clarence (diversion to Waiau) Waiau Hurunui Ashburton Project Aqua Hopkins River Waitaki/Kakanui


Manuherikia River Upper Clutha Lake Hawea Nevis River Taieri Falls Lower Taieri Deep Stream Lee Stream


Waiau River

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