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HBRC welcomes decision on conservation order process

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has welcomed the Minister for the Environment’s decision on the Water Conservation Order (WCO) application for the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers.

“Certainty is incredibly important for our community, including our growers with resource consents expiring in the next few years,” said HBRC Chairman Fenton Wilson, and added “We welcome the fact that the minister has finally made a decision to progress consideration of the Conservation Order application. We can now move forward to explore how it might be designed.”

“Naturally we are disappointed the Minister has chosen to put this application through to a Special Tribunal at this time. The Council believed the Minister had good grounds to decline the application until the community had completed its current planning work for the catchments. However, we accept the minister’s decision and we will work constructively with the Tribunal and other parties interested in the application to see the best outcome for the rivers and for Hawkes Bay.”

“The Regional Council is not opposed to a water conservation order on the Ngaruroro. No-one disagrees there are outstanding scenic and conservation values in the upper reaches,” said Mr Wilson.

HBRC is currently working through the development of new limits and rules to maintain and improve water quality in the Ngaruroro and Clive rivers. This is a core part of the TANK plan change process, where working directly with the community, HBRC seeks durable outcomes to maximise the wide range of values held by the community.

“If designed appropriately a conservation order could sit well alongside a package of measures in the catchment. While the science to understand the way surface and ground water works in these catchments is still being finalised, we will be looking for opportunities to work alongside the tribunal before decisions are taken,” said Mr Wilson.

The Council along with the Ministry and other parties including the applicants are keen to align the Special Tribunal process with the TANK Group collaborative process and RPC’s decision-making processes on the TANK plan change. Discussions have revealed the willingness to develop a unique process that weaves a conservation order into HBRC’s regional planning framework. This will ensure minimal transactions costs and as much common ground as possible.

RPC Co-Chair Toro Waaka said, “The Treaty Settlement entities on the Regional Planning Committee have concerns. Is the integrity of our Treaty settlements to co-manage resource management planning in Hawke’s Bay at risk?”

“We are keen to see the full interests of tāngata whenua, including our economic, social and cultural interests as well as the environment, are duly considered through the process. Ultimately we all want the same things for freshwater management - the question is how do we best achieve it,” said Mr Waaka.

More information on TANK can be found at www.hbrc.govt.nz, #TANK

More information
Fenton Wilson, Co-Chair - Regional Planning Committee, 06 835 9201 | Chairman, HBRC
Toro Waaka, Co-Chair - Regional Planning Committee | Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust, 021 184 0180

25 August 2016

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