Hurunui moratorium a positive step

Release date: 
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - 00:00

The recommendation by the new Commissioners to the Minister for the Environment for a Moratorium on the Hurunui River is a positive step towards reaching a collaborative outcome for the Hurunui.

The moratorium - a tool from the recent Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and improved Water Management) Act - means that no consents for water takes, dams or storage will be granted for the Hurunui catchment until October 2011. Whitewater President Polly Miller says: “We are relieved that Hurunui Water Project’s proposal to dam both branches of the Hurunui River for irrigation has been put on hold, while science and planning work is carried out. The Hurunui is one of our few remaining wild rivers remaining in Canterbury and should be protected for future generations as a national treasure.”

The Hurunui River has been found to be nationally outstanding for kayaking and fishing, and a Special Tribunal has recommended there is a strong case for a Water Conservation Order to protect the river in its natural state.

Dr Doug Rankin, Whitewater NZ representative says, “The Minister’s decision is important for kayakers and supports our efforts to protect the Hurunui from modification. The Special Tribunal found that the upper river is outstanding for its natural character, its wild and scenic values, brown trout habitat and whitewater recreation.”

Putting in place the Moratorium for the Hurunui provides time for the national and regional planning processes to progress, informed by the scientific work now underway. Whitewater NZ President Polly Miller comments: "This step by the Commissioners gives us hope that a collaborative solution to conservation, recreation and irrigation needs can be found for the Hurunui within the framework of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.”

About Whitewater NZ

Whitewater NZ (formerly the New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association) works to protect and conserve rivers, improve opportunities for kayakers to enjoy our whitewater resources safely, and protect public access to rivers for recreational use. We are the primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater resources throughout New Zealand.

For more information contact:
Polly Miller
Whitewater NZ
021 027 58661