Fi­nal com­mis­sioner ap­pointed

Waipa Post - - News -

The fifth and fi­nal in­de­pen­dent hear­ings com­mis­sioner has been ap­pointed to the Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Pro­posed Plan Change 1 hear­ings panel.

It is Dr Greg Ry­der (pic­tured), a Dunedin-based di­rec­tor of Ry­der En­vi­ron­men­tal, who brings fresh­wa­ter tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise to the panel. He joins chair­man Greg Hill, Basil Mor­ri­son, Trevor Robin­son and Sheena Tepa­nia.

The panel will be re­spon­si­ble for hear­ing and de­lib­er­at­ing on sub­mis­sions to the pro­posed plan change for the Waikato and Waipa¯ rivers, and then mak­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion to the coun­cil.

The plan change is the first step in an 80 year jour­ney to achieve rivers that are swimmable and safe for food gath­er­ing along their en­tire length, and achieve the re­quire­ments of Te Ture Waimana o Te Awa Waikato (The Vi­sion and Strat­egy for the Waikato River).

A co-gov­er­nance ap­proach — in­volv­ing the re­gional coun­cil, River Iwi and Waikato River Author­ity — was adopted in ap­point­ing the com­mis­sion­ers.

Five com­mis­sion­ers were ap­pointed in De­cem­ber 2017.

Chair­man Alan Liv­ingston said the im­por­tance of the pro­posed plan change means it’s es­sen­tial this panel has the right mix of skills and leg­isla­tive knowl­edge, and he is con­fi­dent they have that.

“Mr Ry­der has a depth of ex­pe­ri­ence as an ex­pert and a de­ci­sion maker on both con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions and plan changes,” said Alan.

“He is very fa­mil­iar with the is­sues in re­la­tion to the plan change which are sim­i­lar to those he has been in­volved in through­out the South Is­land.

“His skills add balance to the hear­ings panel and ful­fil the panel’s need to have a fifth com­mis­sioner with fresh­wa­ter tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise to en­sure ro­bust hear­ing de­ci­sions.”

Greg is a fresh­wa­ter ecol­o­gist and wa­ter qual­ity sci­en­tist who has un­der­taken ma­jor in­ves­ti­ga­tions into wa­ter qual­ity and sur­face wa­ter ecol­ogy in re­la­tion to a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties through­out New Zealand.

He is an ac­cred­ited in­de­pen­dent hear­ings com­mis­sioner and has sat on 30 re­source con­sent hear­ings on ap­pli­ca­tions re­lat­ing to hy­dro-elec­tric power devel­op­ment, ma­rine farm­ing, ir­ri­ga­tion, wa­ter ab­strac­tion, stormwa­ter and waste­water dis­charges. Greg has also pre­sented ex­pert ev­i­dence at coun­cil con­sent and plan change hear­ings, en­vi­ron­ment court hear­ings, and EPA and wa­ter con­ser­va­tion board of in­quiries.

The rec­om­men­da­tion to ap­point Greg Ry­der from the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora Com­mit­tee was backed by the coun­cil at its meet­ing in Hamil­ton last month, and the ap­point­ment was for­mally ap­proved.

It fol­lows a rig­or­ous se­lec­tion process and ro­bust eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria that had been ap­proved by the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora Com­mit­tee and coun­cil.

The panel is re­quired to have ex­pe­ri­ence as in­de­pen­dent hear­ings com­mis­sion­ers and ex­ten­sive work­ing knowl­edge of the Re­source Man­age­ment Act (RMA) and The Vi­sion and Strat­egy for the Waikato River.

Se­lec­tion cri­te­ria also in­cluded ac­cred­i­ta­tion for de­ci­sion mak­ing un­der the RMA and an un­der­stand­ing of the Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment.

In ad­di­tion, com­mis­sion­ers needed to have a proven record of un­der­stand­ing com­plex re­source man­age­ment is­sues and a fa­mil­iar­ity with the Waikato and Waipa¯ river catch­ments.

The hear­ings com­mis­sion­ers bring a ro­bust and bal­anced mix to the ta­ble with spe­cial tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise in re­source man­age­ment plan­ning, re­source man­age­ment law, ru­ral com­mu­nity and farm­ing knowl­edge and ma¯tau­ranga Ma¯ori/tikanga per­spec­tive.

Hear­ings are ex­pected start in late 2018. to

■ Visit waika­tore­gion.govt.nz/ healthyrivers to find out more about Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Pro­posed Plan Change 1.

Newly ap­pointed Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora in­de­pen­dent hear­ings com­mis­sioner Greg Ry­der.

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