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Ngāti Waewae opposes decision to block West Coast power

Press Release – Ngati Waewae

The chair of West Coast iwi Ngti Waewae has voiced strong opposition to the government decision to block a hydro-electric power scheme on the Waitaha River.Ngāti Waewae opposes decision to block West Coast power scheme

The chair of West Coast iwi Ngāti Waewae has voiced strong opposition to the government decision to block a hydro-electric power scheme on the Waitaha River.

Ngāti Waewae chairman Francois Tumahai said the decision by Environment Minister David Parker was short-sighted and went against the wishes of iwi, the local community and the interests of the wider community.

“This is a very disappointing and misinformed decision by the Minister who has failed to fairly balance the significant level of benefits the scheme provided to the people of the West Coast, against the relatively small impact it would have on the environment.

“This development provides essential power to the region, much needed jobs, and a significant $100 million investment in our community. We are devastated that the Minister has taken it upon himself to pull the plug on a development which provides much-needed investment for the future of our community.”

Mr Tumahai said Poutini Ngāi Tahu, who take their role as kaitiaki very seriously, have supported the project, a renewable energy source which will provide reliable cost-effective energy supply, from its inception.

“Most of the scheme is underground, ensuring the development, which is essential to meet the energy needs of our community now and into the future, will have a negligible impact on the massive conservation estate on the West Coast.”

He said the run-of-river scheme, which would have no instream storage or lake, would ensure no native vegetation, land or terrestrial habitat would be submerged.

“Ngāti Waewae share the frustration and disappointment of many across our community at this decision, and we will do what we can to support efforts to overturn it and to help the Minister appreciate the impact his action will have on the West Coast.

“There is too much at stake, and we must do what we can to help Minister Parker to better appreciate the importance and value of this development to the people of the West Coast.

“Currently the West Coast pays the highest supply charges in the country, with the scheme also providing some resilience for our power needs in the case of a natural disaster.”

ENDS

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