Smith to disclose inclusive process

A process to handle development in the Mackenzie and Omarama basins could come from Minister for the Environment Nick Smith within two weeks.

It could be based on the Fiordland Guardians concept.

That follows Dr Smith's comments during a two-day symposium in Twizel, organised by the Environmental Defence Society, on November 26 and 27, during which he emphasised any process had to be driven by local people.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, who has been co-ordinating the proposal with the minister's office, confirmed yesterday a process was being worked on in conjunction with local input.

At the symposium, Dr Smith used the Fiordland Guardians as an example of how to involve all parties with an interest in the Mackenzie and Omarama regions in planning development.

He said funding for such a process could come from the Ministry for the Environment's Community Environment Fund.

Mrs Dean yesterday said Dr Smith said at the symposium the Government was prepared to support an ongoing collaborative process to determine the future of the two regions.

That included the value of tourism, the value of farming, issues around water use, land use intensification, recreational and scenic values, pest control and environmental and landscape values.

"Dr Smith has also made the point any collaborative approach should involve locals, first and foremost because they live there," she said.

Preliminary work was being done on a process that involved everyone with those interests and concerns and she hoped to announce it "within the next couple of weeks".

Dr Smith said if the process was to succeed, it was critical locals were in the driving seat.

"The idea that people from Auckland, Wellington or even Nelson impose a solution on the Mackenzie is flawed and will fail."

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