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Generation Zero urges ORC to ‘be the adults in the room'

Generation Zero video urges ORC to ‘be the adults in the room’ on Manuherekia decision

Youth climate campaigners Generation Zero sent a video to the Otago Regional Councillors (ORC) councillors this morning urging them to “be the adults in the room” and make a bold decision to substantially increase the minimum flow of the Manuherekia river.

The video features a variety of young people across the Otago region who call on the councillors to “make the decision, be the adults in the room” and increase the amount of water left to flow in the famous Otago river.

Generation Zero spokesperson Adam Currie says, “Protecting the Manuherekia is climate action. It means that we can thrive now, and be more resilient when we need to be. A healthy environment supports healthy communities, and healthy communities support healthy farming.

We support the recommendations of Kāi Tahu ki Otago to increase the flow of the Manuherekia.”

The group says the proposal to delay the decision shows ‘weak leadership’ from ORC councillors given that they had already delayed the decision in previous years.

Addressing councillors directly in the video the group says, “You’re in positions of leadership for a reason.

To help lead our communities through challenging but important decisions.” “The direction we have to go in is clear. We’ve got to take less from the environment, and give more back.”

Currie says: “The irrigation lobby has been pushing hard to maintain the status quo - an untenable state where the environment and our communities are suffering consequences of a degraded river.

The water is being taken to fuel intensive farming systems that aren’t sustainable for the rivers or for our climate.”

The video continues, “Make a decision future generations can celebrate, not vilify.

The more water you leave for the river, the more faith we can have in you prioritising our future over private profit.”

“For the fish that swim, for mahika kai, for the water we drink and for the tamariki who play in it; put the awa's health first.

For the resilience of our natural environment and communities; put the awa's health first.”

It is an obligation of the National Policy Statement 2020 for councils to put the health of waterways before commercial uses of water. The video ends with the group saying that young people will be watching the decisions of councillors on the Manuherekia closely.

The video is available to view in full here, on Generation Zero’s Facebook page.

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