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Oreti River Conservation Order Accepted

MEDIA RELEASE


7 March 2006


ORETI RIVER CONSERVATION ORDER ACCEPTED

The New Zealand Fish and Game Council and the Southland Fish & Game Council are delighted to have been advised by the Minister for the Environment that he has accepted the application for the making of a Water Conservation Order in respect of the Oreti River in Southland.

This acceptance is an important first step to having the Order granted. Public notification and a hearing will be required before the Order can be granted.

“The application seeks recognition of the outstanding values and natural state of the river upstream of Mossburn. To protect those values, the application seeks various protections, including the precluding of damming on the main stem’, said Maurice Rodway, Manager of Southland Fish & Game.

The application is expected to be welcomed by a wide range of groups including anglers, conservationists and Maori. The application is supported by Forest and Bird, Department of Conservation and Ngai Tahu who have a long association with the river as a transport route and for the mahinga kai it provides.

The application applies to the main stem of the river, and specified tributaries upstream of Mossburn. The Oreti River is Southland’s third largest river.

The proposed Order seeks to include the protection of shallow groundwater reserves that are linked to the river upstream of Mossburn and the exceptional water quality of the river upstream of Mossburn.

“The River upstream of Mossburn contains a high density of large brown trout that have an international reputation for their large size and the fishing opportunities they provide,” said Maurice Rodway. “That part of the Oreti River gets about 6000 angler visits annually. About 20,000 visits are made to the lower river each year. Many of these are tourists from other countries. The river also provides habitat for a wide range of native birds.”

The Oreti River has special importance for Ngai Tahu. This has been recognised by the Crown in the Ngai Tahu Deed of Settlement and the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998.

The Application is intended to protect the river in its existing state, and allow current uses to continue. Environment Southland will continue to manage the river so that those that live along side it and use it now will not be further restricted.


ENDS

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