The UCCC has some serious concerns regarding the proposed changes to the RMA (resource management act). In particular, and to quote White Water NZ:
"the RMA reforms propose to delete the requirement to have particular regard to "7(c) the maintenance and enhancement of amenity values" (p37). Amenity values are currently defined in the RMA as "those natural or physical qualities and characteristics of an area that contribute to people's appreciation of its pleasantness, aesthetic coherence, and cultural and recreational attributes" 2(1)."
Please see refer to Whitewater NZ's website for further information: http://rivers.org.nz/article/rma-reform-vs-recreation.
As we are the users of many beautiful rivers in Aotearoa, we are mindful that we would like to continue playing/ being/ growing with these great natural areas forever. Not a lot of people visit the parts of rivers we do, maybe people who are keen on fishing and tramping, but no one navigates their way down exilerating rapids like paddlers. We are the only ones who will have this experience. This is why our community is a small one but one with an ethical behaviour to our environment and one who has a very loud voice.
To continue our ways for ourselves and the next generations of paddlers, we look after these areas by being thoughtful of our waste and rubbish, thoughtful of the spread of exotic plants/ algae (eg the evil didymo) and to be aware and nice to other users of the rivers.
One issue that is too close to home is hydro-electicity. The power companies are onto the rivers and we will make sure they won't take any mint sections away again. Already we have voiced our concerns for the Mokihinui damming and we are being heard.
No one wants to paddle in poo brown water (like other countries who have screwed their rivers) We will continue to hold a strong presence so that our waters are crystal clear, drinkable and full of gnarly rapids forever.
A word from your fantastic Conservation Executive
The highlight of 2011 was our heli-trip down the Mokihinui River in semester 2 (http://rivers.org.nz/nz/west-coast/mokihinui/mokihinui-forks-down). This gem is tucked away on the West Coast of the South Island and is a damming prospect for Meridian Energy. Two rafts and 17 kayakers enjoyed the thrills of the Mokihinui River and were enlightened to the perils of damming, hands off the Mokihinui!!
We were delighted when we heard that Meridian had formally withdrawn from the Environment Court process earlier in 2012!