Hawkes Bay Plan Change puts fresh water before oil & gas exploration

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Regional Planning Committee today voted to recommend Council progress a prohibition of oil and gas exploration activities within productive aquifers, aquifer recharge zones and surface water bodies through a standalone plan change spanning the whole region.

Many of the Tāngata Whenua Group representatives on the Regional Planning Committee supported a region wide plan change to address oil and gas exploration in Hawke’s Bay.

HBRC Chairman and Co-Chair of the Regional Planning Committee Rex Graham says while the committee’s decision doesn’t call for a total ban on oil and gas exploration it is a step in the right direction and one many in the community have been asking for.

Regional Planning Committee Co-Chairman Toro Waaka says water is the region’s most important asset and that the decision on prohibiting oil and gas exploration is about protecting that most precious asset.

The Committee has recommended that Council staff report back to the Regional Planning Committee on the process involved in the Plan Change, and the legal advice it receives regarding its decision, in early 2017.

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