Legacy environmental issue at root of investigation

Peter Skelton
The investigation into the Otago Regional Council is being carried out by Peter Skelton. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Complex historical issues are at the centre of an Otago Regional Council investigation, the Ministry for the Environment says.

The inquiry into the council started early last month regarding concerns the council was unfit to deal with 100-year-old mining water rights needing to be replaced with Resource Management Act consents by 2021.

It is being led by Environment Canterbury commissioner Peter Skelton, who is unable to comment directly to media.

Ministry RMA practice manager Robert McClean said yesterday progress was being made and "a lot of information" was being gathered from the council.

"It is quite a complex environmental issue which has been around since the early mining days. We're dealing with a legacy issue."

Mr Skelton had ongoing discussions and meetings with the regional council and affected parties such as farmers, water users, environmental groups, wine growers, the Department of Conservation and Fish & Game.

"All of them are really engaged."

The findings are due to be reported back to Environment Minister David Parker by September 3.

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