Debate on flooding resumes

23:00, Dec 04 2012

The argument has restarted over whether it is acceptable for Horizons Regional Council to flood farmers' land in an effort to provide better flood protection for other people.

The regional council is applying for a 35-year consent to divert floodwaters from the Oroua River into the Taonui Basin as part of an upgrade of the Lower Manawatu Flood Control Scheme.

The hearing started in 2009, but stopped when its hearing commissioners Christine Foster and Nigel Mark-Brown sent the regional council back to do more research and come up with more information to help the commissioners reach a decision.

Landowners are concerned landthat would not normally go under water would now be flooded, and land that used to be flooded would get more water.

Horizons says water would dissipate faster, meaning landowners would be better off, not worse off.

At the Convention Centre yesterday, the question was asked about where stock would go in the event of a flood.


Brian Kouvelis, director of Sustainable Futures NZ and an environmental engineer, was making a submission on behalf of the Lynch Family Trust and 22 farmers within the Taonui Basin.

He said farmers needed to know where they could put stock that had not previously been affected.

"Does Horizons have any dirt available or is there a plan for other farmers to offer land for a short time?"

Hearing chairwoman Christine Foster asked Horizons group manager of operations Allan Cook to do some investigation into whether stock could be catered for elsewhere.

But she did question whether it was Horizons' or the farmers' responsibility to find the land.

After more modelling was done it was decided landowners would not be as severely affected as first thought, and compensation packages that were initially offered were withdrawn.

The hearing finishes tomorrow.

The Manawatu Standard