Trustpower has appealed several conditions of its resource consents to continue to operate Hinemaiaia hydro power scheme near Taupo.
Environment Waikato granted the consents late last year with a slight increase in the water taken for electricity generation, with conditions requiring installation of an effective fish pass, and a slightly more restrictive flow regime on the bottom power station. There were also conditions relating to the flow regime of the top and middle power stations, maintenance and safety, control of hazardous substances, erosion, monitoring, reporting, consultation and review.
This month Environment Waikato’s Regulatory Committee heard that Trustpower claimed conditions on the flow regime were both impractical to implement and unduly restrictive on the scheme's economic viability. Conditions on maintenance and safety unlawfully gave jurisdiction and discretion to the Regional Council on civil safety issues.
Conditions requiring a fish pass did not assess the environment as it existed now, or ecological evidence the company presented at the hearing. Compliance would be prohibitively expensive, to the point where the scheme would no longer be viable, the company said.
The company wanted to reword and delete nine conditions. The Hatepe Residents Association also appealed, saying the term of the consent was too long, and the consent of flow regime below the bottom dam would affect erosion and wildlife habitat.
Opawa Rangitoto 2C Incorporation appealed the length of the consents, saying the scheme reduced the mauri of the river, affected the relationship of tangata whenua with their ancestral land, water, sites, waahi tapu and taonga. The scheme did not allow tangata whenua guardianship, and the scheme was inconsistent with the Regional Policy Statement.
The committee heard that a number of rewording requests made by Trustpower should be resolved through negotiation. Staff would discuss the appeals with the appellants and determine their willingness to negotiate.