Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Government Decision Sounds Death Knell For Once Mighty River

The Waiau River is condemned to another 50 years of abuse because of a decision by the New Zealand Government to exempt the Manapouri Power Scheme from inclusion in important freshwater management policy.

The Government’s decision to exempt the scheme in the Draft National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management effectively sounds the death knell for a river already choking to stay alive, a spokesperson for the Waiau Rivercare Group, Paul Marshall, says.

“The Waiau used to be New Zealand’s second largest River, bigger than the mighty Waikato. Now it is little more than a drainage channel, often highly sedimented and choked with didymo blooms and toxic cyanobacteria in summer – unsafe to swim in,” Mr Marshall says.

“It is rapidly reaching a point where the river will simply not recover if it doesn’t get more water from upstream. To give you some idea, returning just 3% of what Meridian takes would transform our Awa.”

“That would be impossible with Meridian exempt from the National Policy Statement – all we are asking is that Meridian be part of the conversation.”

“This exception removes our community's voice for the Waiau River for the next 50 years. To be heard, hydro must not be exempt.”

Regional support to see the power scheme included in the freshwater management policy, is widely held. Supporters include Environment Southland, the Southland Conservation Board, the Waiau Fisheries and Habitat Enhancement Trust, The Guardians of Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau and the Government’s four freshwater advisory groups.

“These people are at the coalface and they know very well how precarious the situation is if we continue to ignore the damage that low flow has had, and will have, on the Waiau.”

Exempting the Manapouri Power Scheme from its Essential Freshwater Package means:

  • No more water for the Waiau River. Since 1996 Meridian Energy (51% Government owned) has gradually increased the water it takes from the River.
  • The Community is excluded from consenting decisions about the water for 50 years – the last chance was in 1996.
  • The Regional Council must do what it can for the Waiau River by regulating the rest of the Community – with only 5% of the River.

The Power Station takes 64% of New Zealand’s surface water and discharges it into Doubtful Sound, in the UNESCO Fiordland National Park on the west coast rather than its natural course down the Waiau River to the South Island’s south coast. This results in significantly reduced flow in the Waiau and the problems associated with that.

Disappointed by the government’s decision to exempt the Manapouri Power Scheme from the Draft National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, the Waiau Rivercare Group is petitioning the Government to include the power scheme.

“We ask all New Zealanders to stand and support us as we work to conserve and replenish this national taonga. Please support us as we continue our fight to restore our Awa.”

The Group’s petition is here.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Todd Muller Needs To Own The Privacy Leak Scandal

Whenever a political scandal breaks, party leaders have two basic options. They can confess to being in boots and all, and try to brazen it out : nothing to see here, move on. This tended to be the John Key approach. Very hard to pull that off in this case, given that it involved violating the privacy of sick New Zealanders for party political gain.
The other option is to claim innocence of this terrible, no good, highly regrettable “error of judgement” and apologise profusely for the sins of others, while absolving your own good self of any responsibility. This has been Todd Muller’s chosen path.... More>>

National Departures: Press Statement From Michelle Boag

Today I am announcing that I have resigned my membership of the NZ National Party. The last few days have underscored for me the unhealthy relationship I have developed with politics. For 47 years, I have devoted much of my professional and personal ... More>>


Govt: Statement From Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters has announced he is taking a short stint of medical leave this week. More>>

Isolation: Government And Air NZ Agree To Manage Incoming Bookings

Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan ... More>>


Government: New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways

A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects ... More>>


Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>


Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>


Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>


Foreign Affairs: New Zealand To Review Relationship Settings With Hong Kong

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment ... More>>


Covid-19 Patient Info Leak: Hamish Walker - A Personal Statement And An Apology

I have spoken to National Party Leader Todd Muller and informed him that I passed to members of the media, by email, information containing Covid-19 patient details that was given to me by a source. I did this to expose the Government’s shortcomings ... More>>


PM: Labour Will Extend Loan Scheme 'lifeline' For Small Business

Labour has announced its plans to extend the Small Business Loan Cashflow Scheme and spend $162 million on a waterway clean-up package. More>>


Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>


Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels