MP for Southland Joseph Mooney says the Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) decision to seek more scientific advice before making crucial decisions about the future of the Manuherikia River is the right one.
ORC councillors have voted to seek more scientific detail on a range of factors, which will provide more information for the setting the river’s minimum flows.
Mooney says he applauds the councillors’ move to take a calm, well-rounded and science-backed approach before making crucial decisions about what he describes as an incredibly vital natural resource.
“The council has landmark decisions to make that will have a huge bearing on the future of the Manuherikia River.”
“There is so much at stake and there are so many people that will be affected by the setting of minimum flows that taking a patient approach to gather as much scientific information as possible is the best way to move forward.”
“When you consider what the river means to all of those people, it requires careful consideration backed by scientific research and data in areas like water quality, ecology, land-use effects and economic impact on the community to get the right outcome.”
“When all of that information is gathered and the council have that scientific knowledge in front of them they will be able to make informed decisions.”
“Those decisions should balance the need for good environmental outcomes, while maintaining the river as a vital asset for the local economy.”
“This entire process has been a stressful one for those whose livelihoods will be greatly affected by the setting of minimum flows.”
“I am glad to see a practical approach prevail.”
Mooney says he would like to see a careful approach with extensive opportunities for public consultation taken with national water reforms which are also set to affect the Central Otago region.
“The people of Central Otago are being bombarded with water-related issues right now.”
“Minimum flows for the Manuherikia River, the Three Waters reforms, and the Water Services Bill each deserve very thorough and careful consideration and extensive community input.”
“National has some real issues with aspects of the Three Waters reforms and I have found it particularly concerning that the Government has effectively been attempting to block Councils from consulting meaningfully with their ratepayers as required by the Local Government Act.”
“It raises serious concerns about the Government attempting to ride roughshod over local democracy and the rule of law.”
“It has been pleasing to see the Mayors and Chairs of Otago and Southland say to the Government this week that they want to hear what the people of their region have to say before considering these huge proposals.”
“That’s the right thing to do and the lawful thing to do.”
“The same should apply to the Water Services Bill, which is set to pour huge costs on people to maintain small scale water schemes, like the ones used in two-dwelling farms in rural areas.”
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