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Outstanding rivers need better protection

9 August 2012

Outstanding rivers need better protection


The Green Party welcomes the launch of the Outstanding Rivers campaign by Anton Oliver, and an alliance of recreational and environmental NGOs.
“New Zealanders want rivers to fish, kayak and swim in and want to protect our outstanding rivers,” Green Party water spokesperson said Eugenie Sage today.

“The Government's focus is on maximising the use of rivers for irrigation and hydro generation. We need similar attention to protecting our outstanding wild and scenic rivers.

“Water Conservation Orders (WCOs) under the Resource Management Act (RMA) are the closest equivalent to national parks for rivers but they lack the permanence and scope of national park status.

“Amendments to the RMA could strengthen WCOs by making them permanent and by ensuring land use in the catchments of rivers with a WCO is managed to protect water quality. This is a major gap in the current legislation.

“Recent reports by the NZ Conservation Authority and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment include useful recommendations on how to improve WCOs as a protection tool and how to better protect our wild and scenic rivers.

“These reports deserve serious consideration by the Ministers for the Environment and of Conservation as part of the Government's RMA reform package, to consolidate the position of WCOs.

“National parks are the basis of our billion dollar tourism industry and the 100% Pure NZ brand. Similar foresight in protecting our wild and scenic rivers is crucial to giving integrity to that brand and providing a legacy for present and future generations.

“The Government's proposed change agenda for the RMA as evidenced in their Technical Advisory Group report is largely anti-environment and pro-development. Strengthening the provision for WCOs in the Act is one way of ‘rebalancing’ this,” said Ms Sage.

Outstanding Rivers Website http://www.outstandingrivers.org.nz/
PCE report: http://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/all-publications/hydroelectricity-or-wild-rivers-climate-change-versus-natural-heritage
NZCA report: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/getting-involved/nz-conservation-authority-and-boards/nz-conservation-authority/protecting-new-zealands-rivers.pdf
ends

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