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Opposition Mounts to Hydro Scheme

NEW ZEALAND - Final approval for a planned NZ$280 million hydro scheme for the Wairau River has been met with a volley of criticism and the matter issue is now expected to go to the Environment Court.

According to reports in the Malborough Express, few changes have been made in the consent conditions for TrustPower's plan to divert water from the Wairau River.

The company wants to take up to 60 per cent of the flow through nearly 50km of canals and five power stations to generate 70 megawatts of electricity.

The report says that Marlborough District Council posted out the final resource consent conditions to about 1500 submitters this week.

A hearing panel gave interim consent to the scheme last year and then called for submissions on conditions.

Fish and Game regional manager Neil Deans said that despite not seeing the final conditions of consent document, the decision to appeal the interim decision to the Environment Court was unlikely to change.

The Department of Conservation (DOC), Fish and Game and organic salmon farming company Ormond Aquaculture have appealed the interim decision to the Environment Court.

And an opposition group Save The Wairau is also reported to be discussing the conditions.