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

PCE report: Hydroelectricity or wild rivers?

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr. Jan Wright has issued a report "Hydroelectricity or wild rivers? Climate change versus natural heritage" (PDF, 5MB) highlighting the weaknesses of the current options for preserving wild and scenic rivers. The report criticises the recent National Policy Statements for Renewable Electricity Generation and Freshwater Management: "Where the two NPSs may have counterbalanced each other, instead they favour developing hydroelectricity. The NPS on Renewable Electricity Generation does not sufficiently recognise the irreversible damage of some renewable electricity proposals. And the NPS on Freshwater Management does not explicitly recognise the value of preserving wild and scenic rivers" (p68).

Meridian abandons proposed Mōkihinui dam

Meridian announced today that they are no longer pursuing a dam on the wild and scenic Mōkihinui River citing concerns over their ability to secure resource consents and approval to inundate conservation land. The proposed 80m dam would have inundated an entire class III-IV section from Mōkihinui Forks down to Seddonville. It would effectively eliminate the upstream class IV-V section from the Johnson-Allan confluence by replacing the lower run with a 14km lake. Whitewater NZ had appealed the resource consents to the Environment Court along with Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird, and West Coast Environmental Network Trust.

In a Whitewater NZ media release, Conservation Officer Tony Ward-Holmes said, "This decision has meant that the Mokihinui will remain a pristine river valley, providing outstanding wilderness kayaking and rafting opportunities."

Forest and Bird urge support for wild Mokihinui

Forest and Bird have launched a campaign against taxpayer-owned Meridian Energy's proposal to dam the wild and scenic Mōkihinui River. "Forest & Bird was joined by MPs, including Chris Hipkins, Peter Dunne and Kevin Hague, and representatives of organisations representing kayakers, rafters and trampers, who also want the river to remain in its natural state." The campaign invites supporters of a natural, undammed Mokihinui to send an e-card to Meridian Energy (or via Facebook) opposing the scheme. Please join the campaign, and let your paddling buddies know about it.