Preservation of whitewater, threats to recreational amenity, wild and scenic rivers.

Nevis River protected from dams

Minister for Environment Amy Adams has announced that dams will be prohibited on the Nevis River, per the majority recommendation of the Environment Court.

Whitewater NZ volunteers have invested many hundreds of hours into supporting Otago Fish and Game’s application to amend the Kawarau Water Conservation Order (WCO) to improve protection for the superb recreational amenity provided by the Nevis River - including fishing and kayaking values.

RMA reforms challenged

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, architect of the Resource Management Act has decried the changes in a report Protecting New Zealand's Environment (PDF, 1.3MB) writing, "The Government’s proposals will replace [sections 6 and 7] with a single list of competing considerations, under which principles protecting the natural environment and its recreational enjoyment will be consistently weakened, and principles promoting development will be consistently strengthened.

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.

Kawarau WCO (Nevis)

The Kawarau WCO in 1997 didn't recognise or protect the outstanding recreational amenity on the Nevis River.

In 2008, a Special Tribunal to consider amendments to the Water Conservation Order also failed to sufficiently recognise or protect kayaking values (NZRCA Submission). Whitewater NZ, NZ and Otago Fish and Game Councils and Pioneer Generation Ltd. appealed the Tribunals decision to the Environment Court.

Hurunui and Waiau River regional plan appealed

The proposed Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan has been appealed to the Christchurch High Court by multiple parties including the Hurunui Water Project (HWP), Amuri Irrigation Company and North Canterbury Fish & Game Council. Of most concern, HWP seeks to remove the prohibition on damming the Hurunui mainstem and South Branch.