Media release

ORC wants to see your vision for the future of freshwater in Otago

Wednesday 21 October 2020

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) will be visiting every corner of the region over the coming weeks to gather input for its Regional Policy Statement.

Under a new requirement introduced in the government’s Essential Freshwater package, ORC’s Regional Policy Statement (RPS) must include freshwater objectives developed with iwi and the wider community for each freshwater management unit and rohe.

The RPS will set the environmental management direction for Otago, and is scheduled for notification in June next year.

Gwyneth Elsum, ORC’s General Manager Strategy, Policy and Science said the aim of the Freshwater Visions consultation was to gather a wider variety of perspectives on water in Otago.

“We’re keen to get input from every corner of the region—the more perspectives we hear, the better.

“In addition to being used for the RPS, the freshwater visions will also shape the new Land and Water Regional Plan we have begun working on,” Ms Elsum said.

“We’ll use these visions to help set area-specific policies, limits and rules that work for each area in Otago, and which reflect community as well as central government expectations.”

ORC will be holding community meetings around Otago to gather input into freshwater visions for the region’s catchments, as well as an online survey that opened today for people who may not be able to attend the meetings in person.

Minister for the Environment David Parker had set ORC a deadline of November this year to notify its new RPS, but has extended that deadline to June 2021, due to the additional consultation requirement introduced in the Essential Freshwater package.

“That’s why we’re talking to people in all of our freshwater management units and rohe about their freshwater visions this year, ahead of schedule for our Land and Water Regional Plan,” Ms Elsum said.

Freshwater management units and rohe are geographic areas for managing freshwater and land use. The boundaries have been set by ORC and enable a tailored approach rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

See the schedule of meetings below to find your nearest meeting, or you can have your say online. Find out more at or call 0800 474 082 for a paper copy of the survey.


Community meetings:

Owaka, 27 October, 5:30-7pm, Owaka Memorial Hall

Oamaru, 28 October, 12:30-2pm and 6-7:30pm, Oamaru Opera House

Palmerston, 29 October, 12:30-2pm, Palmerston Community House

Ranfurly, 2 November, 12:30-2pm and 6-7:30pm, Ranfurly Town Hall

Cromwell, 3 November, 12:30-2pm, Cromwell Presbyterian Centre

Clyde, 3 November, 5:30-7pm, Clyde Hall

Mosgiel, 10 November, 12:30-2pm, Mosgiel Coronation Hall

Dunedin, 10 November, 6-7:30pm, The Salvation Army Hall, NEV

Dunedin, 11 November, 6:30-8pm, Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Middlemarch, 12 November, 12:30-2pm and 6-7:30pm, Middlemarch Memorial Hall

Roxburgh, 17 November 12:30-2pm, Roxburgh Memorial Hall

Ettrick, 17 November, 5:30-7pm, Ettrick Hall

Tapanui, 18 November, 12:30-2pm and 5:30-7pm, West Otago Community Centre

Milton, 19 November, 12:30-2pm, Milton Coronation Hall

Balclutha, 19 November, 6-7:30pm, Cross Recreation Centre

Queenstown, 24 November, 6-7:30pm, St Peters Church Hall

Wanaka, 25 November, 12:30-2pm and 6-7:30pm, Lake Wanaka Centre

Arrowtown, 26 November, 12:30-2pm, Arrowtown Bowling Club