RWNZ has made a submission on an application to the Minister for the Environment for a water conservation order on the Ngaruroro River and Clive River, pursuant to Section 201(1) of the Resource Management Act 1991.
RWNZ opposes aspects of the application for the water conservation order that propose to limit the take of water from the lower River, in particular below Whanawhana. Consistent with other applications submitted (eg: Irrigation NZ, HB Fruitgrowers, and Horticulture NZ) we oppose the application applying to connected groundwater of the Ngaruroro River and consider that the applicants have not defined the nature or extent of the groundwater they propose to be covered by the order.
Should the Tribunal determine that the application is appropriate for the lower River, we oppose the range of controls and prohibitions suggested within the draft order for the stretch below Whanawhana Cableway. We propose that an alternative range of controls, limits and restrictions be considered that are enabling of food, fibre and wine production values.
We consider that food, wine and fibre production are values that are integral to the cultural identity and economic wellbeing of the local communities and any revised water conservation order should consider the protection of those values because they are outstanding, both nationally and regionally.
We note that the applicants have failed to consider the needs of rural families and communities who derive their livelihood from primary and secondary production. The region is a food producing region and many rural families and communities are dependent on and involved in the primary or secondary production industries and their service industries in some way.
It is apparent to us that the applicants have not given due consideration to the downstream consequences of reducing the ability for producers of food, fibre and wine to have access to the necessary water to grow their crops. We need to ensure that crops are viable and the irrigation of crops is fundamental to that viability, especially in low rainfall seasons.
RWNZ recognises that it is sometimes difficult to balance the environmental interests and the interests of recreation users and growers and producers. We submit that the interests of people who make a living from the land and the communities that derive their living from the production and manufacture of primary produce must be fairly factored into the equation.
Should the application be approved as submitted it would have the effect of disadvantaging the economic welfare of both the producers of wine and food and the other local businesses that gain their income from the revenue generated by the producers.