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Forest And Bird Asks For Delay On Consent Hearing

July 20, 2001 - Christchurch

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Forest And Bird Asks For Delay On Consent Hearing

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society is calling on Environment Canterbury to delay further consideration of a dairy conversion in Canterbury until after decisions are made on the proposed Rangitata Water Conservation Order.

Rangitata Dairies have applied for resource consents to abstract 19,440 cubic metres of water a day from groundwater near the Rangitata River and dispose of dairy shed effluent. The proposed farm will have over 2000 cows. Submissions on the resource consent application closed on 13 July.

“The dairy industry has argued for hearings on the proposed Rangitata Water Conservation Order to be delayed because of inadequate information about the river. How can they then push ahead with large scale conversions,” Forest and Bird researcher Geoff Keey asked.

“The proposed Natural Resources Regional Plan – Water is still not even out in draft form. Decisions are being made in a planning vacuum that the Water Conservation Order will fill,” Geoff Keey said.

“It is essential that Environment Canterbury does not grant consent for major conversions to dairying near rivers without a proper planning framework. Future generations will pay the price with degraded rivers and polluted groundwater,” said Geoff Keey.

Forest and Bird’s submission opposes the proposed Rangitata Dairies mega-farm because of the environmental risks to groundwater and the Rangitata River. It asks the Council to delay hearing the application until after the Water Conservation Order is considered. A Special Tribunal is due to begin hearings on the Order in September.

Ends

Contact: Geoff Keey - phone/fax 03 366 0655 (w) or 03 365 9455 (h)
Eric Pyle, Conservation Manager – phone 04 385 7374 work; 025 227 8420; email e.pyle@wn.forest-bird.org.nz

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