Tag Archives: Rivers

ORC $wimming in it —SHOULD afford more Otago environmental protection

….not a new office palace at Dunedin.

Spending figures on flood protection and river management, particularly on the Leith and Taieri systems, and public transport, are heavily weighted towards Dunedin.

### ODT Online Mon, 9 Jan 2017
‘Dunedin-centric’ ORC gets roasting
By David Williams
Michael Laws’ already poor appraisal of the Otago Regional Council just gets worse. Official council figures provided to the Otago Daily Times detail the council’s $56million in reserves, its plans for spending up to $24million on a new Dunedin headquarters and a breakdown of spending in the Queenstown Lakes, which is affected by lake snow. Mr Laws, who was elected to the council’s Dunstan ward in October, said: “It’s worse than we thought, to a degree. They’ve got a huge amount of money and they spend very little.”
….He accused the council of having a very hands-off policy towards Dunstan issues and particularly Queenstown and the lakes over the past five years. “It’s withdrawn staff from the area, it’s not monitored the lakes which is its basic statutory responsibility, it’s spent very little money dealing with pests, whether flora or fauna, and I think personally that the reason in large part is if you don’t live in an area you don’t properly understand it.”
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L A K E ● S N O W

10.6.16
The alga called Cyclotella, or recently renamed by algologists as Lindavia intermedia, is related to the ‘rock snot’ alga didymo. The recent appearance of lake snot is associated with the emergence and dominance in Cyclotella, according to a team of scientists from the University of Otago, Landcare Research and Université Laval (Canada).
–Erica Mather, Sciblogs: Southern NZ lakes congested with algal snot

lake-snow-stuff-co-nzLake Snow [stuff.co.nz]

ORC – Lake Snow
In recent years, a slimy substance called ‘lake snow’ has been found in Lake Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea. Otago Regional Council (ORC) is working with stakeholders and researchers to find out more about where lake snow comes from, what influences it, and how it could be managed. Read more

Lake snow brochure (PDF, 1 MB)

QLDC – Lake Algae
For a number of years the Lake Wanaka water supply has been affected by the presence of algae. The algae is not harmful from a health perspective, but has had an effect water filters, irrigation fittings, new appliances and other equipment. The algae is not noticed at all the properties in Wanaka and no pattern has been found. In mid-2016 QLDC began receiving reports of algae build-ups in a number of water filters around Queenstown that take water from Lake Wakatipu. It has been identified as the same algae that has affected the water system in Wanaka for the past eight years or so.
Identifying and managing lake algae

In 2004 Didymosphenia geminata, a diatom commonly known as didymo or rock snot, was discovered in New Zealand, the first time it was found in the Southern Hemisphere. To restrict its spread, the whole of the South Island of New Zealand was declared a controlled area in December 2005. All items, such as boats, fishing gear, clothing, and vehicles, that have been in a stream, river or lake, must be cleaned before they enter another waterway.
Wikipedia: Didymo in New Zealand

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### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:14, Sep 1 2016
Fears lake snow could make Lake Wakatipu ‘unfishable’
By Jo McKenzie-McLean
An experienced fishing guide fears Lake Wakatipu could end up “unfishable” with the invasive spread of the algae bloom, lake snow, and warns Lake Dunstan could be next. Queenstown fishing guide Stu Dever, armed with his rod and reel, voiced his concerns about the presence of lake snow in Lake Wakatipu to Otago Fish and Game committee members at a meeting in Cromwell last month. His rod was clogged with the thick globules of algae after only one day’s fishing on the lake … The mucous-like substance is produced by the algae cyclotella has now been observed in three South Island lakes.
Read more

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:49, Nov 4 2016
Lake snow discovered in Hawea as algae spreads through southern lakes
The nuisance algae known as lake snow has been confirmed in Lake Hawea as it continues to spread through the southern lakes. Officially known as Cyclotella bodanica, it has been present in Lake Wanaka for several years and has this year been confirmed in Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown. It has also been found in Lake Coleridge in Canterbury. It does not present a health risk but can block water filters on commercial premises and residential appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.
Read more 

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 11:13, Dec 19 2016
Laws calls for Otago Regional Council to apologise over Lake Snow ‘inaction’
By Jo McKenzie-McLean
The Otago Regional Council needs to “apologise and atone” for its “grossly inadequate” action over the Lake Snow problem in the alpine lakes, newly-elected Otago regional councillor Michael Laws says. “Lake snow was notified to the Otago Regional Council in 2008. It did nothing until September 2016, and in that time the algae and its effects have taken a firm grip on Lake Wanaka and now spread to other lakes. As with the invasive weed lagorosiphon [oxygen weed], the ORC’s inertia on lake snow stands as an object lesson of what can go wrong when you react, and react late, rather than research. There are some massive lessons for our governance here. We dropped the ball big time and need to accept, apologise and atone.” Cr Laws said there needed to be a significant financial investment in the southern lakes and that any delay would only make the problems less manageable and more expensive. “The Otago Regional Council has no debt, and $56 million in reserves. It wants to spend $25 million on a new HQ in Dunedin. I say those priorities are dead wrong: The lakes and our waterways – along with pest destruction – must be our prime responsibilities.”
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Dr Schallenberg and other scientists have been frustrated by rejected funding applications on research into lake snow, and the Otago Regional Council only stepped up monitoring last year, although it has paid for some research on Lake Wanaka’s health.

### ODT Online Sat, 7 Jan 2017
Editorial: The lake snow threat
It is past time to drive action on “lake snow” (“lake snot”). The slime produced by an  algae in Lake Wanaka — it is also in Lake Coleridge and was found last year in Lakes Hawea and Wakatipu — is unsightly and a significant nuisance. More importantly, it could have long-term and unknown ecological impacts.
….It was first noticed in Lake Wanaka about 2004 as those fishing spoke of fouled lines and blocked engine intakes. Washing machine and other filters in Wanaka began to become clogged because the town water supply comes from the lake. […] The same algae had also been found in another relatively unpolluted lake in Seattle in the United States. Just like didymo (“rock snot”), under certain conditions cyclotella secretes large amounts of mucus. This can all join together to form a mat. Just why it appears is still a mystery.
Read more

### ODT Online Sat, 7 Jan 2017
Lake snot costs hit six figures
By Guy Williams
Queenstown hotels are being forced to install expensive filtration systems to prevent lake snot (also called lake snow) damaging or blocking their water systems. Sofitel Queenstown Hotel manager Vincent Macquet said a self-cleaning filter identical to one operating at Dunedin Hospital was installed at the hotel five weeks ago at a cost of “hundreds of thousands” of dollars. Lake snot began clogging its water system last winter, causing hot-water valves to fail and reducing water pressure. […] Macquet said it was a “touchy subject” with hoteliers, with representatives from seven hotels meeting Queenstown Lakes District Council staff about a month ago to express their concerns.
Read more

didymo-hawea-landcareresearch-co-nzDidymo, Hawea [landcareresearch.co.nz]

Didymo (aka rock snot) [jrn.com via knownews.com]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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New Zealand Fresh Water Quality Atrociously Poor —agricultural intensity

### ODT Online Thu, 18 August 2016
Inquiry into Havelock North Water
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has confirmed a Government-initiated independent inquiry into the Havelock North water contamination. “To ensure we have a clear understanding of what has happened in Havelock North as well as any learnings from the situation, the Government will launch an independent Inquiry,” Coleman said. “This approach has been agreed between the Government and Hastings District Council as the best way forward.” NZME
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Our piss-pour, cow-scour friend, LGNZ’s Lawrence Yule………

As Havelock North recovers from the largest outbreak of water-borne illness in New Zealand in 30 years, Lisa Owen asks Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule how it happened and if the Council did enough to keep people safe.

Video (part 1):

Video (part 2):

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“We [NZ] have the highest level of many of these waterborne gastrointestinal diseases in the OECD.” –Prof Russell Death

### radionz.co.nz Mon, 22 August 2016
Radio New Zealand National
Checkpoint with John Campbell
Fresh water results worst ecology professor has seen
An ecology professor says council measures of water quality around Hawke’s Bay are lower than any he has seen before in New Zealand. A government-led inquiry launched today will look at how Havelock North’s water supply became contaminated and how the response was handled by local authorities.

An estimated 4100 people have suffered from gastric illness following the contamination of the water supply, and more than 500 have been confirmed as due to campylobacter. Several people were hospitalised, and a coroner is looking at whether the death of an 89-year-old woman, who had contracted campylobacter, was from other underlying causes or was connected to the infection.

In the latest round of tests, Hastings, Flaxmere and Bridge Pa returned clear results meaning the water there continued to be safe to drink. However, while the chlorine-treated water supply in Havelock North had also been cleared, a boil water notice remained there.

Massey University professor Russell Death has studied freshwater in the broader Tukituki-Papanui-Karamu area, which includes Havelock North. He told Checkpoint with John Campbell macroinvertebrate community composition (MCI) values, which measured the general health of the water, were very low in the broader area around Havelock North. “A town water supply in New Zealand is infected by many of the pathogenic organisms that live in our water supplies, it’s not surprising at all – in fact, it’s inevitable,” he said. He said, normally, a very unhealthy river could present MCI values as low as 80, but the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s own measurements had found levels even lower. “The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have done their own sampling around the Karamu catchment, and that’s where they’ve found MCI values down to 60 which, as I said, I didn’t realise MCI values could get that low.” He said students he had sent to the area had come back having seen dead animals on riverbanks and asked not to be sent to sample streams so badly affected again.
Read more

█ Audio : Fresh water results worst ecology professor has seen
Checkpoint ( 6′34″ )

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

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ORC : Official complaints show integrity

Gerry Eckhoff (ORC) 1### ODT Online Mon, 15 Aug 2016
Two complaints laid against ORC
By Simon Hartley
Complaints against the Otago Regional Council have been laid by Cr Gerry Eckhoff with the Ombudsman and also the Office of the Auditor-general over exclusion of the public from a recent meeting. A decision was publicly released by the regional council late on Friday, from an in-committee, meaning non-public, non-media meeting on Wednesday, which the ORC yesterday defended on the basis the decision could be appealed.

The regional councillors voted in favour of accepting commissioners’ recommendation that a minimum water flow be set for the Lindis River catchment in Central Otago.

Mr Eckhoff released a statement yesterday outlining his complaints, and in an interview said not having the issue aired in public revealed a “grossly inappropriate process”. […] Council staff made the recommendation to hear the Lindis matter in public exclusion after seeking legal advice on matters where a decision by the council is open to an appeal in a court or tribunal, [ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker] said.
Read more

█ ORC : Combined Council Agenda 10 August – Public.pdf

Go to PART D – EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC
See Item 14 Recommendations of the Hearing Committee on the Proposed Plan Change 5A (Lindis: Integrated water management) to the Regional Plan: Water for Otago.
In relation to item 14, this resolution is made in reliance of section 48(1)(d) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

█ Otago Regional Council http://www.orc.govt.nz/

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

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RMA and Key’s right-wing slashers

BACKWARD STEP: Our environment is at risk if the Resource Management act is watered down.Anton Oliver [stuff.co.nz]

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 21/07/2013
Gutting the RMA – it’s time to be concerned
By Anton Oliver
Source: Sunday Star-Times
OPINION | The Resource Management Act (RMA) has sadly become a much maligned and misunderstood piece of legislation: a kind of universal public punching bag – if mentioned in conversation, it is almost obligatory to put the slipper in. To most Kiwis it represents bureaucracy and inefficiency – pen-pushing do-gooders and paper shufflers who engage us in excessively long and costly processes that get in the way of us Kiwis doing stuff.
In fact the RMA – passed in 1991 – was a means of rectifying mistakes and providing at least some environmental and social integrity to development and planning process. It was recognised by legal minds to be a world-leading piece of legislation. It protected our environment and our economy based on the premise of sustainable resource management. What’s more, it was politically robust in that it received the blessing of both major parties.
It also gave New Zealanders a chance to be heard and it facilitated local decisions made by local people. While the country’s environmental indicators such as water quality and biodiversity loss have still gone backwards – the RMA has stemmed what would otherwise have been fatal haemorrhaging.
Similarly, the RMA has protected a set of fundamental Kiwi values: the notion of fairness and equity in regard to everyone having a right to their say; industry and other activities being required to take responsibility for avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse environmental impacts; and developments being required to have regard to effects on such things as recreation, scenic values, private property rights, and the public’s access to rivers, lakes and beaches.
That’s all about to change.
The Government plans to alter the Act to give greater weight to economic development over environmental considerations, granting to itself the right to veto any issue. You don’t have to be legal-minded to see the impact of subtle word changes. While the consideration for the “benefits” of a project remains, gone are any references to the “costs”, making a cost-benefit analysis redundant because environmental “cost” is out of the equation.
Gone, too, are the words: “maintenance and enhancement of amenity values”. That’s basically any recreational activity – walking, running, swimming, fishing, kayaking. Who likes doing that stuff anyway? Thankfully the “importance and value of historic heritage” stays. But its cobber, “protection from inappropriate subdivision and development” gets the boot – making the first clause meaningless. And my personal favourite, “maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the environment” has been politely asked to leave. Clearly such an unruly clause has no place in a legal act that’s trying to protect the environment.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, has a different interpretation. She thinks the changes “muddy the overwhelming focus of the RMA, to protect the environment, and risk turning it into an Economic Development Act”. Similarly alarmed, the architect of the RMA, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, concludes: “The [proposed changes] will significantly and seriously weaken the ability of the RMA to protect the natural environment and its recreational enjoyment by all New Zealanders.”

The changes also grant considerable new powers to central government, giving it the ability to take individual consent decisions away from local councils and place them in a new national body. The changes go further still, by allowing government the right to insert provisions in local council plans without any consultation.
Read more

● Former All Black Anton Oliver is an ambassador for Water Conservation Order NZ.

Related Posts and Comments:
21.4.13 *fashionable* Heritage Dunedin and the RMA holocaust
17.3.13 RMA Bill: Public meeting 21 March
6.7.12 Recommended changes to RMA explode environmental protection

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: stuff.co.nz – Anton Oliver

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Recommended changes to RMA explode environmental protection

Technical advisory group’s report recommends significant changes to section 6 of the RMA…the proposal to drop the requirement for decision makers to provide for the preservation and protection of indigenous vegetation and habitats as matters of national importance ignores Environment Court case law built up over the last 20 years.

### ODT Online Thu, 5 Jul 2012
Proposed changes reduce RMA protection
By Adam Bennett – New Zealand Herald
A Government-appointed advisory group has recommended a significant rewrite of the Resource Management Act removing references to the protection of coastal areas, wetlands, lakes and rivers and indigenous flora and fauna. Environment Minister Amy Adams released the report from a technical advisory group established after the Canterbury earthquakes with the primary task of looking at natural hazard issues relevant to the RMA arising from the quakes. “After the Canterbury earthquakes, it became clear that consents for subdivisions had been granted without any consideration of the risk of liquefaction,” Ms Adams said in a statement. However, the group’s report addresses much wider issues and recommends significant changes to section 6 of the RMA.

As it stands [section 6] instructs local authorities to recognise and provide for the protection or preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment, wetlands, lakes and rivers when considering RMA applications. They must also provide for the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes and areas of significant indigenous vegetation or wildlife. Protection must also be provided for historic heritage and protected customary rights while public access to and along the coastal marine area, lakes and rivers must be maintained. However the group’s recommendation proposes removing the words “protection” and “preservation” from the section entirely.
Read more

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### radionz.co.nz Friday 6 July 2012
Morning Report with Geoff Robinson & Simon Mercep
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport

08:13 Independent report a major assault on the RMA – Opposition
Opposition parties say recommended changes to the Resource Management Act by independent advisory group are a major assault on the sustainable management of the environment. (3′57″)
Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

More reading via Scoop
Greens – Report ‘Major Assault On The RMA’
NZ Govt – Report on Resource Management Act principles released
Labour – RMA changes risk more litigation
ACT – RMA Principles Report Encouraging But More Boldness Required
Maori Party – Māori Party comfortable with direction of RMA report
Fish and Game NZ – RMA rejig a disaster for the environment

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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