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Protected Waterways Up For Grabs?

Protected Waterways Up For Grabs?

Agriculture Minister David Carter’s and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith’s failure to unambiguously commit to the ongoing protection of iconic rivers and lakes by suggesting that Water Conservation Orders are ’problematic’ is of serious concern, and retreats from pre-election promises, says Fish & Game New Zealand.

“Water Conservations Orders are indeed ‘problematic’ if you wish to pollute, suck dry or damn those special and iconic rivers protected by a WCO,” said Bryce Johnson , Chief Executive New Zealand Fish & Game Council. “WCOs place restrictions or prohibitions on water takes, discharges, hydro-electric development and other uses. They are like a national park on a waterway. That’s why they exist”

“These special waterways are of huge importance to New Zealand ’s tourism industry and one of the very few legal mechanisms that put some serious integrity into our clean, green 100% pure brand.”

“In response to a series of pre-election questions posed to all political parties by Fish & Game last year, National responded that, ‘National has no plans to alter the status of water conservation orders. There needs to be an effective mechanism for protecting the natural value of rivers in the same way that we protect marine areas through marine reserves and the terrestrial environment with national parks’. “

“Fish & Game has initiated most of the 15 existing WCOs. We receive no tax-payer funding, and the considerable resources, time and funding required to be successful in this process have been supplied by anglers and hunters through their licence fees. Opposition to WCOs from a range of interest is often intense, and requires comprehensive, thorough and expensive research and legal representation.”

“New Zealand ’s freshwater anglers and gamebird hunters are rightly proud of the successes they have achieved in protecting our rivers and lakes of special value. They will see any Government failure to uphold the protection of these special water bodies as an extremely serious threat and a retreat from pre-election promises.”

ENDS

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