31 Mar 2010

Commission urged to adopt water management strategy

6:51 pm on 31 March 2010

Irrigation New Zealand believes a new authority to replace Canterbury's regional council should incorporate a water management strategy that has already been drawn up for the area.

The Government on Tuesday announced that the elected councillors will be replaced by appointed commissioners, and a new authority will be established to deal specifically with water issues.

The change means the existing regional councillors will leave their jobs on 1 May, with the judicial and democratic oversight of the council passed on to a panel of commissioners for at least three years.

Irrigation New Zealand chairperson Graeme Sutton says the move will be good for water management in Canterbury, saying the council had been using the issue as a political football.

However, Mr Sutton says it is important that the commissioners' recommendations are set out in the water management strategy, to ensure irrigated agriculture can be successfully carried out in the region without damaging the environment.