9 Feb 2010

Irrigation opponents urge Govt to refuse applications

11:18 am on 9 February 2010

Opponents of irrigation plans in the MacKenzie Basin region want the Government to use its powers under the Crown Pastoral Lease Act to refuse applications for water rights.

The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, the Green Party and the MacKenzie Guardians say wide spread irrigation will destroy the flora and fauna particular to the MacKenzie Basin.

They contend that some of the land is question is owned by the Crown and leased to farmers, and the Crown can therefore refuse the applications.

But the process that Forest and Bird and the Green Party want followed is not clear cut.

However, the office of the Minister in charge of Land Information believes that veto of irrigation requests can come only from the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

The Commissioner says none of the pastoral land leasees have yet asked permission to irrigate, despite the applications already going through the resource consent process with the Canterbury Regional Council.