29 November 2010
Mackenzie Country Symposium a success
The Environmental Defence Defence Society (EDS) says that the Mackenzie Country Symposium held at Twizel over the weekend was a success.
"There was a huge amount of support for a genuine collaborative process to look at the future of the Mackenzie Country," said EDS Chairman and Symposium convenor Gary Taylor.
"There was also agreement that the process needs to be driven by the local community but with all stakeholders represented.
"All sides agreed that the area is very special - and iconic and unique part of New Zealand in the accurate sense of both of those words.
"220 people attended the Symposium. Around half of them were locals and many of them were farmers. We were especially pleased to have the controversial cubicle dairy farming proponent Richard Peacocke present and supportive of the collaborative approach proposed by EDS and our Symposium partners.
"The Minister for the Environment, Hon Dr Nick Smith also encouraged a collaborative approach and intimated that Government funding might be available to support the process. He said that the area is going to be subject to litigation for a long time and that trying to build a consensus on the way forward would be the preferred approach by Government.
"Expert speakers at the Symposium explored areas of conflict and concern such as tenure review; dairy conversions; water quality and quantity; wildling pines; other pests and weeds; hydro electricity; landscape and ecology. We also analysed the planning regime and its adequacy and highlighted some areas for attention.
"Presentations will be available on eds.org.nz tomorrow.
"EDS is absolutely delighted at the constructive and thoughtful dialogue that took place. It was good to have the Mayors of Waitaki and Mackenzie Districts involved and they agreed to take the idea of a collaborative process forward.
"So we have achieved our objective and kick-started the discussion. We will be looking to others to take it forward from here," Mr Taylor concluded.