5. Nature of application

This page has section five of the New Zealand Fish and Game Council and the Otago Fish and Game Council application to amend the Water Conservation (Kawarau) River) Order. 

5.1  The Special Tribunal found that the Nevis River has the following outstanding characteristics (at page 15 of the decision):

"8.5.2 (b) The Nevis River gorge from Nevis Crossing to the confluence with the Kawarau River-

  1. For wild characteristics; and
  2. For recreational purposes, in particular fishing in the pools immediately below Nevis Crossing, and kayaking:

(c) The Nevis River above Nevis Crossing –

  1. For scenic characteristics; and
  2. (ii) For recreational purposes, in particular fishing"

5.2  However the Special Tribunal did not consider that a prohibition on damming was necessary to protect these characteristics.  At page 18 the Special Tribunal stated:

"The Tribunal was not persuaded that it should preclude some of the Board's options by totally prohibiting damming of the Nevis River.  In terms of the scenic upper valley, as long as major inundation does not occur this outstanding characteristic would be protected.  The option exists for the Board, or any other party, to negotiate an arrangement with those that would be affected by any scheme, should they pursue this development.  Otago Regional Council may approve a water permit provided the restrictions and prohibitions of the order are addressed.  For example, provision of river flows in the gorge section at times and quantities to allow kayaking, the provision of fish passage and maintaining water quality standards suitable for contact recreation and fishery purposes would protect most of the identified outstanding characteristics.

The only outstanding characteristic in the Nevis River that would not necessarily be protected under the above regime would be the outstanding wild characteristic of the gorge section of the river.  The tribunal recognised the potential loss of value but decided the protection of the recreational characteristics, while having regard to the community needs, to be the best decision."

The original decision in respect of the Nevis does not fully recognise or protect the outstanding values present.  Some of those values have been better defined since the time of the decision through the availability of new information and the approval of statutory plans developed and approved under the provisions of the Conservation Act.


5.3  Fish and Game seeks amendments to the Order to protect the outstanding fishery, instream habitat, wild, scenic, recreational and natural characteristics of the Nevis by:

  1. Adding a prohibition on damming on the Nevis River.  
  2. Adding a prohibition on diverting the flow of the Nevis River
  3. Adding a prohibition on taking water from the Nevis River or imposing a minimum flow

5.4  Fish and Game seeks the amendments shown in Appendix 1.  These provide;

  1. for additional recognition of the scenic characteristics of the Nevis River below Nevis Crossing.
  2. for additional recognition of outstanding natural characteristics, being outstanding landform - the Nevis River is the last example of a free-flowing river in Central Otago District
  3. for additional recognition of the type of outstanding angling experience the Nevis River affords, namely a backcountry angling experience.
  4.  for additional recognition of the outstanding trout habitat values of the Nevis River, the productivity of which results in the development of trophy brown trout
  5. for additional recognition of the native fishery values of the Nevis River and tributaries in supporting stocks of non migratory galaxiids that provide important biogeographic evidence of river capture.
  6. for additional recognition of the nationally important historic values of the Nevis River, in particular historic sites adjacent to Nevis Crossing and Nevis Township and the river reach between.
  7. that no damming or diversion will be allowed on the Nevis River.  
  8. Flow regime to protect instream ecological values and amenity values
  9. Water quality will be preserved at the same levels.

5.5  In Appendix 1 provisions marked as strikeout are deletions and provisions underlined are additions.