Greenpeace: ORC policy to set tone for NZ

Greenpeace supporters have flooded the Otago Regional Council with submissions on its regional policy statement.

The proposed regional policy statement is the first of its kind under new national regulations.

It will set the direction for how Otago manages its freshwater.

But because it is also the first regional policy statement in New Zealand to be notified since the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 was gazetted, Greenpeace says it will ‘‘set the tone’’ for new regulations for the rest of the country.

In a public workshop last week, council senior policy analyst James Adams said nearly 1500 submissions were received during consultation.

Only 156 were from groups or individuals other than Greenpeace, he said.

The environmental organisation said, in a statement, that more than 1300 people had submitted along Greenpeace lines.

Its form submission called for the council to prioritise the health of water, to lower cow stocking rates on farms, and to phase out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

Submissions on the consultation closed last month.

After concerns were raised by Forest & Bird and the Environmental Defence Society before the plan was notified, the council last month asked the High Court to decide if its proposed regional policy statement is a ‘‘freshwater planning instrument’’ in its entirety.

If it is, that would allow the council to use a process designed to streamline plan making.

Environment Minister David Parker has said he would be taking advice on whether the court’s decision would have national significance.


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