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Forest & Bird welcomes Nevis decision

Forest & Bird welcomes Nevis decision

Forest & Bird welcomes today’s decision by a special tribunal to forbid the building of any dam on the Nevis River in Central Otago as a victory for New Zealand’s magnificent wild rivers.

Fish and Game had applied for an amendment to the water conservation order on the Nevis River to remove conditions that permitted a dam to be built. Electricity company Pioneer Energy has proposed to build a hydro-electric dam on the river.

The tribunal agreed to prohibit dams in order to protect the distinct local population of the native fish, the Gollum galaxiid. It heard evidence that damming the river could lead to the introduction of fish predators and endanger the native fish only found in this river.

Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Quentin Duthie said the decision was a win for biodiversity in the region and New Zealand as a whole.

“This decision is a welcome sign that the value of our distinctive wildlife should not be traded off for short-term economic gain,” Duthie said.

“Protecting all New Zealand’s native animals, plants and landscapes is a priority and that is why we have supported the Nevis water conservation order application.

“New Zealand’s remaining wild rivers are precious. These rivers are treasured by New Zealanders who love kayaking, rafting, fishing and swimming. They’re also key to our ‘100% Pure’ brand internationally.

“This good news for the Nevis is a major win for wild river protection. The next big battle will be over the fate of the Mokihinui River on the West Coast, where numerous native plants and animals, and a unique and pristine river landscape, are threatened by Meridian’s proposed dam.

“New Zealand has plenty of renewable energy options that do not require the damming of our much-loved wild rivers and the endangering of the precious wildlife that live in and around them.”

The Nevis River forms part of the Clutha catchment. Its source is at the southern end of the Hector and Garvie Ranges from where it flows 50 kilometres northeast to its confluence with the Kawarau River, near Queenstown.

The decision of the special tribunal can be found at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/water/freshwater/water-conservation/kawarau/special-tribunals-report/index.html

ends

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