Environment Waikato is to appoint a hearings Committee of independent commissioners to hear consent applications for Mighty River Power’s hydro operations.
This week’s Regulatory Committee heard that the power company’s operations were authorised until October this year, after which new consents were required. Deciding on the consents through the public process of technical examination, submissions and possible appeals was likely to extend over several months if not years.
Regulatory Committee Chairman Jim Howland said substantial and important resource management, asset management and flood management issues needed to be considered. As well, consents for the Tongariro Power Development by Genesis might need to be determined before the Mighty River Power consents could be considered.
The Council’s Asset Management Group would be a submitter, and the Council had both an administrative and active asset management flood control role in the process. There was also concern about continuity of funding some river maintenance costs and for flood rules.
It was important that the Council’s long standing statutory and publicly expected active river and catchment management role, and its Resource Management Act administrative role be identified and visibly separated, he said.
The Committee noted that the Asset Management Group would independently advance issues relevant to river and catchment management and flood control. The Resource Use Group would separately administer the hearings process and technically evaluate the applications and submissions and advise the independent commissioners.
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