29 Apr 2015

HortNZ taking water concerns to Govt

9:53 am on 29 April 2015

The national horticulture industry body is taking its concerns about an Environment Court ruling on water quality to the Government as it can not afford to go through legal channels, it says.

Horticulture New Zealand is concerned about the court's decision to uphold an appeal from Ngati Kahungunu, in Hawke's Bay, against proposed changes to water quality provisions in the regional plan there.

HortNZ natural resources manager Chris Keenan said the court's interpretation effectively meant the quality of every single water body must be managed in a way which ensured it was maintained or enhanced.

However, that was unworkable because it could be used to challenge any land development for any purpose.

"We've got no desire to see water quality degraded everywhere but we also reckon that some activities inevitably do have some degradation of water quality," Mr Keenan said.

"This is an absolute standard by the look of it, where you would not be even able to degrade if you were above the drinking water standard, so there are concerns for all sorts of activities, not just farming or horticulture.

"I think it relates to anything that may have an affect on water quality."

The Environment Court decision also appeared to go against the direction the Government had taken in its national policy for freshwater and it would raised the issue with Environment Minister Nick Smith, Mr Keenan said.