Mokihinui to be dammed

Well, probably. Several months ago I wrote about our trip along the Mokihinui River, which has been under threat of being dammed by Meridian Energy for some time. A few months later than planned, the Official Commission has finally released a (very long) report in favour of the decision to allow a dam. This will be a surprise for some, because late last year Gerry Brownlee (Minister of Energy and Resources, and Minister for Economic Development) let slip that he didn’t think it would go ahead, before he pulled back and claimed he didn’t get involved in local politics. [Update 22nd May 2012: Meridian has now withdrawn its project from the Environment Court and will not proceed.]

The decision was majority rather than unanimous, with two of the three commissioners (John Lumsden and Terry Archer) finding in favour of the consents, but the other commissioner (Greg Ryder) considering “that the effects of the proposal on the ecology of the Mokihinui catchment were not only adverse but could not be satisfactorily mitigated”. Their full decisions can be read from page 296 of part one of the document linked from above.

It is very likely that this decision will be appealed before anything happens. The New Zealand Wild Rivers campaign more or less echoes my thoughts on this.

A media report from The Press is here.

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