28 April 2010

ECAN Commissioners again

One of the other new ECAN Commissioners is David Bedford who is Chairman of Enterprise North Canterbury.

So where in the Canterbury water politics spectrum do David Bedford and Enterprise North Canterbury fit in?

According to its web site, Enterprise North Canterbury is a not-for- profit trust acting as the economic development agency for the Waimakariri and Hurunui District Councils. One of its key objectives is "to promote and facilitate land-use intensification in the region...(such as the) Hurunui Water Project which Enterprise North Canterbury helped establish.

Enterprise North Canterbury was part of a working group consisting of the Hurunui Irrigation and Power Trust, MainPower, Ngai Tahu Properties and Eskhead Station, which came up with the Hurunui River/Lake Taylor dam and water storage proposal in April 2006.

This working group recieved $590,000 from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Sustainable Farming Fund and Enterprise North Canterbury must have supported them as it contributed its postal address.

As National Business Review's Chris Hutchings says; the Environment Canterbury special legislation "represents a victory for Irrigation NZ and rural interests seeking control of the region’s waterways for irrigation projects involving the Hurunui, Rakaia, Waimakariri and other main rivers."

The Hurunui Water Project is going to be the main beneficiary of the special legislation as it cancels Fish and Game and Whitewater NZ's right to appeal their Hurunui River water conservation order application to the Environment Court. Remember, success for the water conservation order application would prevent the Hurunui Water Project, who already have had their consent applications notified, from damming the Hurunui River at Lake Sumner.

But the Government has moved the goalposts on the water conservation order.

Whitewater NZ is furious.

So Commissioner Bedford will be firmly in the pro-irrigation camp. I wonder if he will have the sense to declare a conflict of interest and excuse himself from any discussions the ECAN Commissioners have on the Hurunui River water conservation order?

Its also a little odd that Irrigation New Zealand's press release applauding Bedford's appointment does not mention the Hurunui Water Project Connection.

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