Dairy decision supported by district council

cThe Waitaki District Council supports the decision by Environment Minister Nick Smith to "call in" the associated consent applications for controversial intensive dairy farming proposals in the Omarama and Ohau area.

In a statement yesterday, chief executive Michael Ross said water from the Waitaki catchment was used for irrigation, recreation and to supply drinking water to towns including Omarama, Kurow and Oamaru.

"Ensuring good quality water is of critical importance for all our communities," Mr Ross said.

Dr Smith's decision means the consents will now be decided by a five-member board of inquiry, rather than by an Environment Canterbury panel.

In a statement, Mackenzie Guardians spokeswoman Jane Zusters said the call-in signalled the need for urgent reassessment of landscape and ecosystem protection.

Government agencies, such as the Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment, needed to implement long-term protection of the landscapes, waters and biodiversity of the area.

While cow cubicles had sparked widespread interest, it was the current rapid change and threatened changes in the landscape context that was of the greatest concern, she said.

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