Waikoropupū Springs tribunal appointed

The special tribunal to consider the Waikoropupū Springs application for a Water Conservation Order (WCO) has been announced.

The Waikoropupū Springs are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand and contain the clearest water measured anywhere in the world.

A WCO is the highest protection possible for a water body, and the equivalent of National Park status. There are nationwide covering 13 rivers and two lakes, with this being the first application advanced for a springs. A WCO overrides any other planning instrument and requires the identified features or characteristics to be protected in perpetuity.

The five-member panel comprises:

  • Camilla Owen (chair): A Nelson barrister involved in environmental law, Ms Owen is an accredited Resource Management Act (RMA) decision maker.
  • Bob Dickinson: Previously Tasman District Council chief executive for 17 years, during which time he oversaw development and implementation of resource management plans.
  • Lewis Metcalfe: An agricultural policy and sustainability advisor with a farming background.
  • Che Wilson: Former chief negotiator for the Ngāti Rangi Trust and Deputy Secretary Māori at the Ministry for the Environment. Mr Wilson has also worked at the Department of Conservation.
  • Professor Jon Harding: Prof Harding is Dean of Postgraduate Research for Stream Ecology at Canterbury University, and was a member of the Board of Inquiry into the Freshwater NPS.

The special tribunal will publicly notify the application and will call for submissions. A hearing will follow.  The special tribunal will then make a recommendation to the Minister for the Environment, which can be appealed to the Environment Court.

For more information about Water Conservation Orders visit:

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