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The federation runs on the smell of an oily rag, and is facing some pretty unprecedented challenges defending your chosen sport.

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Earlier this year Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) asked the Environment Court to rule on a declaration they submitted which asks that they;

have no statutory duty to enforce the provisions of the National Water Conservation (Rakaia River) Order 1988 (WCO)…’ beyond ensuring any resource consents are not contrary to its purpose.

North Canterbury Fish & Game (F&G) and the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) responded by asking the court to declare otherwise and that it is most definitely ECan’s role to uphold the WCO.

Both the NZ Salmon Anglers Association and the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers have joined this Environment Court case as ‘interested parties’. This means we get to present evidence and information in support of F&G and EDS and so hope the court obliges ECan to start taking responsibility enforcing the WCO for the Rakaia River.

For over a decade, river users have reported how reduced flows at the lower river have resulted in once ephemeral braids becoming vegetated islands, deposition of silt and sediment on to once clean gravels, river bed armouring, river mouth contraction and increased flood events as a result.

, All Donations Gratefully Received
, All Donations Gratefully Received
, All Donations Gratefully Received

There has been a collapse of once prolific populations of, black flounder, black billed gulls and Stokells Smelt.

Anglers believe loss of the latter is directly related to the disappearance of the healthy sea-run trout fishery they once enjoyed.

In 2013 Trustpower successful won an amendment to the WCO which allowed it to divert the Wilberforce and Harper Rivers into Lake Coleridge and ‘store’ water which was allocated but not used for irrigation for later release down the river on order from irrigators, such as Central Plains Water.

This WCO change is effected by massive river bed bulldozer works, industrial scale irrigation abstractions and the practice of large pulses of ‘stored water’ from Lake Coleridge being released down the Rakaia for irrigation takes. Anglers strongly believe this paradigm change in water control is responsible for this degradation.

The outcome of this case will have implications on every single WCO in New Zealand

, All Donations Gratefully Received This Environment Court case has national implications so other local authorities will be watching closely. Should the court rule in ECan’s favour then it means they too have no responsibility to uphold the other 14 rivers with WCO’s.

We have engaged legal counsel to support us in the court case and this, of course will cost money.

We are asking all our members and all anglers to please dig deep and donate to the NZFFA so we can mount a detailed and credible court case to help protect our Water Conservation Orders.

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You can also donate by visiting our home page and clicking on the DONATE button in the membership pop up screen.

Thank you and we’ll keep you all informed of our progress via our monthly newsletter.

, All Donations Gratefully Received

David Haynes

Secretary & Treasurer. NZFFA