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Hawke's Bay Water Conservation Order Hearing Underway After COVID-19 Delay

Ngaruroro River. Photo credit: The Surveying Company Hawke's Bay

The Environment Court is sitting again this week to hear the appeals to the recommendations made by the Special Tribunal for a Water Conservation Order on the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers.

The hearing was paused in its second week in March this year as a result of COVID-19 alert level changes and the necessary restrictions.

The purpose of a Water Conservation Order, in part 9 of the Resource Management Act, is to recognise and sustain the outstanding amenity or intrinsic values of waters.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is appealing a Special Tribunal report released in August 2019 recommending a Water Conservation Order is granted for the Upper Ngaruroro, from the source in the Kaimanawa Ranges to the Whanawhana cableway.

The Regional Council’s appeal is in respect of technical errors and unintended consequences of specific terms within the recommendation, such as the definition of damming.

It supported the Special Tribunal’s recommendation that the application for a Water Conservation Order for the lower part of the Ngaruroro River is declined.

Forest and Bird and Whitewater Rafting NZ are appealing both recommendations.

The hearing is being held in Havelock North and is expected to finish this week. Once the Environment Court has finished its inquiry, it will report to the Minister and recommend whether or not an Order should be made.

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