Due process is at risk, says Forest & Bird, in a proposal to build a hydro-electric scheme on conservation land.
The Department of Conservation this week began re-consulting submitters with last minute deal sweeteners offered as mitigation for a proposed hydro scheme on the Waitaha River on the West Coast.
“These are extremely minor mitigation measures, which should not trigger a new round of consultation, a year and a half down the track,” says Conservation Advocacy Manager Jen Miller. “This consultation is biased in favour of the company, at the expense of the many people who submitted in good faith.”
More than 3000 people submitted on the concession application by Westpower Limited in November 2016.
“We’ll be looking at a procedural review of the decision to allow the company an extra chance to get the project across the line.”
The last minute mitigation mainly includes funding for kayaking on the West Coast. “Funding for kayaking and school holiday programmes are all very well, but they don’t address any of the concerns that Forest & Bird and other submitters raised at the hearing,” says Ms Miller.
"The Waitaha is one of our most outstanding and scenic rivers. More than 25 native bird species including kea, kākā and kārearea, plus long-tailed bats, and forest and green geckos make the Waitaha their home."