The history of WCOs – the “national parks” of our rivers

Water Conservation Orders have been in the news lately, with the passing in March of the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Bill, which environmental and recreational groups claim fundamentally undermines Water Conservation Orders (WCO) in Canterbury, by giving the newly appointed ECan Commission the decision-making power on WCO applications, placing a greater emphasis on “sustainable management” rather than protection, and removing the right to appeal the decision (except on points of law).

So, what is the history and origins of the WCO, the so-called “national park” of rivers? Continue reading

Lindsay Gow’s thoughts on the RMA: 20 years on

Following on from his earlier contribution, Two decades of environmental policy – then and now, former Ministry for the Environment Deputy Secretary Lindsay Gow also shared his thoughts on the efficacy of the Resource Management Act since it was enacted in 1991, and on what tasks remain to be tackled in the area of environmental policy:

The Resource Management Act has been with us for nearly twenty years.  It was one of my biggest jobs.  I consider that, on balance, it has worked successfully.  It’s interesting to hear both pro and anti development people referring to the RMA as a legitimate means of making difficult resource decisions.

The RMA’s central notion of integrated resource management was ahead of its time in 1990.  Thanks to the establishment of regional authorities administering it on a whole catchment basis, the RMA has delivered some notable results. Continue reading