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Michael Laws, who is also a Dunstan constituency councillor, did not hold back last night when he alleged the report, which supposedly shows support for a flow of more than 3000 litres per second for the river, had no validity and had been made public before any ORC elected member had seen it.
‘‘I would have to state this report is crap.’’
His concerns centred on the fact the fact the submissions could be made anonymously, Cr Laws said.
‘‘There’s literally hundreds of anonymous people whose views were counted, which means it could be easily manipulated.
‘‘It is no more valid than any anonymous survey and I know this survey has been manipulated.’’
He was stunned anyone could think online surveys could have ‘‘any validity in the real world’’.
His ire was directed at the process undertaken by ORC staff in releasing the data.
‘‘I’m really annoyed ORC staff decided to release today the results of a survey that if you had any inkling you would know it was bogus.’’
He only became aware of the report when it was published on the ODT’s website late yesterday.
The summary report released by the ORC to the ODT detailed results of consultation on five flow scenarios for the Manuherikia River.
The five flow options tabled ranged from 1200 litres per second up to 3000 litres per second.
A total of 1089 submissions were made.
The submissions were presented in a graph form in the release, which the Otago Daily Times then requested be presented in concrete figures.
A total of 410 submissions supported a minimum flow of 3000 litres per second, 109 supported 2500, 76 wanted 2000, 36 supported 1500, 147 were for 1200, 172 wanted 1100 and 103 supported 900 litres per second.
Twenty-one submissions supported less than 900 litres per second (categorised as ‘‘none — less’’), while in the ‘‘none — more’’ category eight submitters wanted more than 3000 litres per second.
Earlier, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan was the first to question the figures, saying he had taken more interest in the breakdown of the local submissions, which could be found in the body of the consultation report, than the graph the ORC released.
A second graph called ‘‘scenario preference by location’’ showed, by his ‘‘rough calculations’’, about twice as many submitters from ‘‘Manuherekia’’, which he understood to include Alexandra and Clyde, favoured a 1500 litres per second flow or less as opposed to 2000 litres per second or above, he said.
‘‘Once the broader Central Otago column is added, approximately 70% of submitters favoured a 1500 litres per second or less flow as opposed to 2000 litres per second or above.’’
An ORC spokesman said the consultation would be used in the development of the council’s new land and water plan.
The scenarios for consultation were developed with input from the Manuherekia Reference Group (MRG).
The consultation summary also reported on scenario preference by location and analyses additional comments made in the submissions.
Comments were grouped into the categories of values, issues, suggested actions and the consultation process, and will inform staff’s advice to the ORC.
The release also stated that after a public workshop on August 12, ORC councillors would consider a full report from staff on August 25, which would include a summary of the submissions, a preferred flow from iwi, a report from the MRG and a staff recommendation.
The ORC’s decision on a management scenario for the Manuherikia River would be made when it notified the land and water regional plan at the end of 2023, at which point the public would be able to have their say through submissions and hearings.