Nelson MP Nick Smith has welcomed today’s notification by the Tasman District Council of a bill to enable access to DOC and LINZ land for the Waimea Augmentation Scheme.
“The Waimea Water Augmentation scheme is the best possible solution to long standing issues of the river’s health and managing increased demand for water for irrigation and town water supply. This bill will enable access to 9.6 ha of the Mt Richmond Forest Park managed by DOC and 1.4 ha of river bed administered by LINZ, resolving one of the many issues required to enable the scheme to proceed.
“The total area of the proposed reservoir is 87.5 ha and only 9.6ha of this is land managed by DOC. The area has minimal recreation use, low conservation values and represents just 0.006% of the 165,947 ha of Mt Richmond Forest Park, but is essential to the Waimea Augmentation scheme that delivers substantial improvements to the health of the Waimea River. The proposed easement over the land provided for in the bill is consistent with the Council’s agreement reached with DOC over the resource consent for the project granted in August 2014. The small area required from LINZ is riverbed and the bill provides for the Council to purchase it at fair market value.”
“I am sponsoring this bill through Parliament as the local MP and will be doing all I can to build widespread support for its passage. My arguments for supporting it will be that it was strongly supported by the Tasman District Council where the resolution for it was passed without dissent, that it is consistent with agreements reached with DOC, that it enables the new Government’s announcement in February to honour funding commitments for this Waimea Project and because of the considerable environmental and economic benefits for the Nelson and Tasman communities.
I have secured the support of National’s 56 MPs for the bill at this week’s Caucus. My ambition is to secure the full support of all parties and MPs and I will be working on this in the coming weeks in preparation for the first reading and vote due in August. It is my intention to refer the bill to the Governance and Administration Select Committee that deals with local government issues. I expect the committee, as is practice, to hear public submissions in Richmond. Local bills are not generally contentious and my hope is that this bill will enjoy wide support,” concluded Dr Smith.