Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Government recognises the level of public interest in The McKenzie basin...


"The Government recognises the level of public interest in major proposals for intensive dairying in the McKenzie basin and is considering options for intervention", Environment Minister Nick Smith said today.

"I have received a comprehensive report from the Ministry about the proposals in response to correspondence from Environment Canterbury. The advice confirms the view of Environment Canterbury that the animal welfare issue over the housing of 18,000 cows lies with the Animal Welfare Act 1999 rather than the Resource Management Act and this constrains the ability to use the call-in powers."

"The options for intervention are further constrained by the applications being lodged prior to the Government's improved resource management procedures coming into effect on 1 October. The changes widened the criteria for call-in and provided for direct referral to the Environment Court. These consents must be processed under the 2005 Act that is more limiting."

"An option I am exploring with Environment Canterbury and my Ministerial colleagues, is appointing a Project Coordinator from the Environmental Protection Authority to assist Environment Canterbury with processing these complex consent applications. This intervention under Section 141A (4)(d) of the Resource Management Act would ensure best practice in dealing with these contentious consents."

"I am also advised that the final date for any intervention by Government is not 15 January but 2 February albeit it is my intention to resolve this as soon as possible after the first Cabinet on January 19."

"These controversial consents highlight the broader issues around the need to improved water management in New Zealand and particularly in Canterbury. Our systems are not well equipped for dealing with the increased pressures on water allocation and pressures on water quality. A major challenge for Government this year will be building on the work of the review into Environment Canterbury and the Land and Water Forum to put in place a better framework for dealing with these sort of issues in future", Dr Smith concluded.

Acknowledgements: Hon Dick Smith, NZ Minister for the Environment

Original article

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