Monday, December 11, 2023

Environment Canterbury clarifies role in Rakaia water order

Environment Canterbury Regional Council has withdrawn its request for the Environment Court to clarify its role and RMA functions in upholding the 1988 Rakaia Water Conservation Order (WCO).

In February this year, the Council applied to the Environment Court for declarations to help clarify its role is in enforcing the WCO. The legislation is intended to protect the outstanding natural features of the Rakaia River.

Council took the position that its role was to issue consents and monitor compliance with consent conditions in a way that was consistent with the WCO, without extending to a duty to enforce observance of the WCO itself.

Chief Executive, Stefanie Rixecker said that the declaration was withdrawn on Friday as there was no longer disagreement that the Council has the functions, powers and duties under the RMA.

“We’re glad to have resolved questions about our responsibilities as a regulator,” Ms Rixecker said.

However, she acknowledged there was still concern from some groups as to whether the outstanding characteristics of the Rakaia River are being sufficiently protected.

“We all value the outstanding natural features of this river. Environment Canterbury will continue to engage with interested parties including Ngā Rūnanga, to understand any concerns about the health of the Rakaia River and to explore what further actions are required to ensure its protection,” she said.

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