Freshwater ‘national parks’ safe again
10 July 2013 – Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use
Freshwater ‘national parks’ safe again – for the moment
Forest & Bird says that Environment Minister Amy Adams is to be congratulated for listening to public opinion and reversing a proposal to weaken the way New Zealand’s most outstanding lakes and rivers are protected.
Currently, Water Conservation Orders (WCOs) are the key way that nationally significant water bodies are protected. WCOs provide protection for these waterways from the demands of irrigators, and proposals for hydro dams.
Earlier this year the Government proposed that local authorities should decide which lakes and rivers should get WCOs, and how these should be looked after.
But speaking this morning (Wednesday July 10) at the Valuing Nature conference in Wellington, Minister Adams said that decisions on which water bodies were nationally significant would continue to be made at a national level.
“The public consultation over the original proposal sparked a widespread backlash, driven by concerns that the proposed process would make it much harder to protect our best rivers and lakes, and the native plants and animals that live in and around those waterways,” says Forest & Bird’s advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell.
“Good freshwater is fundamental to life at all sorts of levels – people understand that. That’s why the plan to do away with nationally-set WCOs for our best waterways was so unpopular. The minister has done well to recognise that.
“WCO’s are why we’ve still got the few rivers that are still in their natural state, like the Motu River on the East Cape, the Mohaka in Hawkes Bay, and the Buller River on the West Coast,” Kevin Hackwell says.
Kevin Hackwell 021 227 8420
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