Media release

Media statement on Water Permits plan change

Thursday 23 January 2020

Statement attributable to Cr Marian Hobbs, Chair, Otago Regional Council.

At yesterday’s Otago Regional Council meeting, we discussed options for the Water Permits plan change, a necessary change to address the issue of the expiry of deemed permits in October 2021.

Councillors voted to hold part of the agenda item in a public-excluded session and then make the debate and decision-making open to the public.

The aim of the discussion was to identify the option for this plan change which best matched the recommendations from Minister for the Environment, Hon. David Parker, taking into account the opinions and arguments presented by members of the public at the forum on 7 January, and a subsequent focus group with stakeholders.

Councillors voted in favour of the option which most closely aligned with Minister Parker’s recommendations to achieve short term, relatively low-cost consents in the interim, while ORC’s Land and Water Regional Plan is developed. This option will apply a blanket approach to ensure that all applicants will have access to a consent term of no more than seven years and will base allocation on actual water use over the five-year period from 2012-2017.

Councillors have given staff a clear direction for preparing the plan change, which will be brought back to Council at its meeting on 11 March 2020 for a decision to notify. Once notified, the plan change will be open for submissions.

The report and options considered by Council is available to view online as part of the meeting agenda, at