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RMA Spells The End For Project Aqua

RMA Spells The End For Project Aqua

Monday 29 Mar 2004 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Rural

Meridian Energy's scrapping of Project Aqua, has highlighted flaws in the RMA, and raises questions over New Zealand's future with the Kyoto Protocol, ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"Today's announcement means that coal is the only real alternative to meeting New Zealand's energy needs. This will necessitate New Zealand withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol - which imposes a carbon tax on fuels, such as coal," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Meridian's withdrawal from Project Aqua highlights yet again the climate of uncertainty that all businesses in this country face under the RMA. There is a real need to totally revisit the RMA in light of Meridian's decision. There are far better alternatives for hydrogeneration on the lower Clutha River, but this project could not, or will not, progress until the RMA is changed.

"Meridian's decision is great news for irrigators in the McKenzie Basin and the Aoraki region, but not such good news for those on the lower Waitaki. Irrigation proposals for the lower Waitaki were essentially a joint venture between Meridian and farmers in the area. Clearly, irrigation in this area will now require a rethink.

"This whole exercise illustrates the difficulties surrounding the allocation of what is essentially New Zealand's most valuable resource: fresh water," Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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