Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Did Minister Parker mislead Cabinet?

Did Minister Parker mislead Cabinet, and where are the Greens?

Waiau Rivercare Group Press Release – 17 September 2019

70% of New Zealand’s surface water take is allocated to Meridian’s Manapouri Power Scheme. But when Environment Minister David Parker asked to exempt the Scheme from his Freshwater Action Plan, he didn’t tell Cabinet that.

Unlike most hydro-schemes, the water used by Manapouri is never returned to the Waiau Catchment. Instead, up to 95% of the Waiau River’s flow is discharged to Deep Cove by the 51% Government-owned Scheme.

When asked whether this was taken into account in the impact analysis, Martin Workman, Director of Water at the Ministry for the Environment, said that he, “doesn’t have the answer”.

The Ministry’s report reveals talks with Meridian about the exemption began in November 2018, the same month Meridian failed to have the Waiau Rivercare Group – which advocates for the health of the Waiau River – struck out at Environment Court.

Paul Marshall, co-chair of the Waiau Rivercare Group said the community felt, “marginalised”, and that “MfE’s report writes us off as ‘Not Applicable’”.

Marshall asked Workman at a Winton public meeting what prospect there was to argue for what the Waiau River desperately needs, “just a little more water”.

Workman responded that the proposal is about how we ensure the “lights don’t go out” while maintaining and improving water quality in the Waiau. But is it really that dire?

Claire Jordan, a Planner and Environmental Scientist in the Rivercare Group, told Kathryn Ryan on ‘9 to Noon’ that the science available suggests a minimum flow of 35 cumecs would provide for the ecological health of the river. “To put that in context, we get 16 cumecs at the moment, the difference is about 3% of the 550 cumecs Meridian is consented to use for power generation,” she said.

Jordan is concerned the Government’s exemption could actually worsen water quality in the Waiau River, as even the current minimum flows and flushing flows are not protected. “How the flow varies over time is critical to river health,” she said. In contrast, Minister Parker told Cabinet that, “proposed exceptions will not lead to declines in water quality”.

Peter Horrell, co-chair of the Waiau Rivercare Group says that, “If these proposals are really about protecting waterways, then the Waiau River needs 35 cumecs now, while the science is updated”.

“Where are the Greens on this issue?” Horrell asked.

Horrell stresses the need to remove the exemption for Meridian. “We need a meaningful conversation about how hydro-generation and ecological health can co-exist in the Waiau Catchment, and that can’t happen if the rules don’t apply to Meridian”.

Horrell said the Minister needs to “come down and talk to iwi and the community” about their aspirations for the health of the Waiau River. “The awa cannot wait” he said.

A public meeting about community aspirations for the Waiau River is being held in Tuatapere on Thursday evening as part of Environment Southland’s Regional Forum.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Global Factors Facing TV3

Oaktree Capital gave MediaWorks a gallows reprieve in 2013 by pushing out its former Australian owner Ironbridge and facilitating a receivership-driven restructure that enabled MediaWorks to shed a burden of tax liabilities and international programme purchasing contracts. Oaktree eventually assumed 100% ownership of Mediaworks in 2015.

But here’s the rub. In May of this year, Oaktree itself was bought into by the giant Canadian firm Brookfields Asset Management... In the light of the Brookfields stake and the uncertain state of the global economy, Oaktree has come under pressure to shed and/or streamline the underperforming assets in its portfolio. More>>

 

'Armed Response Teams': Armed Police "Will Cause American-Style Shootings"

The Police Commissioner's announcement that squadcars of officers with automatic rifles will patrol New Zealand's streets is dangerous and unnecessary, according to the criminal justice community organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The ... More>>

ALSO:

Control Orders: Amnesty Says Don't Rush Terrorism Bill

"The problem is, we often see the word “terrorism” being applied broadly by oppressive regimes to detain innocent people who're simply rallying for a better life." More>>

ALSO:

Expert Reaction: $17 million To Fight Online Extremist Content

The Department of Internal Affairs will double its work investigating and preventing violent extremism online. Funding will also help bolster the Chief Censor's work to make fast decisions about harmful content. More>>

ALSO:

Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

Regulation: Review Finds NZTA Road Safety Failings

The independent review, carried out by consultant agency MartinJenkins, lists at least 10 reasons for the failures including the agency being focused on customer service at the expense of its policing functions. More>>

ALSO:

Rod Carr: Climate Change Commission Chair-Designate Announced

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. More>>

ALSO:

Compliance Complaints: 'Putting Right' Holidays Act Underpayment In Health

The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels