Environment Court rules kayaking on Nevis River to be protected

Whitewater New Zealand and Fish & Game have successfully appealed to the Environment Court to protect kayaking on the Nevis River from dam proposals such that by Pioneer Generation Ltd. The Environment Court decided (PDF, 7.8MB) that the kayaking amenity in the lower gorge of the Nevis River is outstanding and should be protected through a prohibition on damming.

Based on evidence presented by prominent local kayakers the court recognised that the progression of kayaking equipment and skills has increased the recreational amenity of the Nevis, specifically the lower gorge, and that the impact of a hydro dam on the amenity would be detrimental, especially due to compression (if access was restricted to release days), loss of a warm-up section and loss of natural character. Furthermore, a prohibition on damming via a Water Conservation Order offers greater certainty of protection than district and regional plans.

The decision is just reward for Whitewater NZ's legal counsel Maree Baker-Galloway and the kayakers that presented on behalf of Whitewater NZ including Glenn Murdoch, Gordon Rayner, Pete Simpson, Roy Bailey, Keith Riley and Dave Ritchie, as well as Whitewater NZ submitters in previous years.

Video by Pete Simpson that was presented at the Environment Court: