Hydro scheme concession application reconsideration by Westpower Limited
On 31 May 2022, the Minister of Conservation received an application from Westpower Limited for a reconsideration of the decision on its application for concessions for its proposed Waitaha hydro scheme on the Waitaha River, West Coast.
The decision to decline the concession application was made by the Minister for the Environment (Hon David Parker) under transfer from Hon Eugenie Sage (then Minister of Conservation) in August 2019.
2019 decision to decline the concession
In August 2019, the Minister for the Environment declined a concession to Westpower Limited to construct and operate a run of the river hydro scheme on the Waitaha River on the West Coast.
The application was for a lease, licence and easement concession for a term of 49 years under section 17Q of the Conservation Act 1987 to Westpower Limited to construct and operate a run of the river hydro scheme on the Waitaha River on the West Coast.
The Minister declined the application because it would have been contrary to the purpose for which the land is held, and would have had significant impacts on the natural character of the area, and people’s enjoyment of it.
- Waitaha Hydro Scheme: Decision letter on application for concessions (PDF, 5,078K)
- Westpower Ltd: Decision on Waitaha concession decision report (PDF, 5,618K)
- Waitaha Hydro Scheme: Hearing report (PDF, 1,353K)
Media release about the decision 28 August 2019
About the concession application
The Minister of Conservation gives notice of her intention to grant a lease, licence and easement concession for a term of 49 years under section 17Q of the Conservation Act 1987 to Westpower Limited to construct and operate a run of the river hydro scheme on the Waitaha River on the West Coast.
Application for concessions and assessment of effects on Westpower website
DOC's analysis of the application
DOC's technical reports
These reports review the effects on:
- Freshwater (PDF, 65K)
- Terrestrial (PDF, 267K)
- Lizards (PDF, 67K)
- Birds and bats (PDF, 580K)
- Invertebrates (PDF, 162K)
- Blue duck (PDF, 123K)
- Recreation (PDF, 1,075K)
- Recreation assessment (PDF, 1,071K)
- Natural character/landscape and visual amenity (PDF, 20K) - assessment of further information required
- Natural character/landscape and visual amenity effects (PDF, 360K) - initial comments
- Natural character/landscape and visual amenity effects (PDF, 1,529K) - updated comments following changes to application
- Westpower's geotechnical aspects (PDF, 247K) - peer view
Other information received
These reports were received under section17s(4)(a) and (b) of the Conservation Act 1987:
- Impacts of the proposed Waitaha River Westpower hydro scheme on white water and kayaking values (PDF, 4,247K) - Whitewater New Zealand
- Baldwin report: Proposed Waitaha hydro scheme: assessment of reasons, financial viability and alternative locations (PDF, 3,131K) - Tony Baldwin, Law and Economics Consultant
- Westpower response to Baldwin report (PDF, 1,956K) - 23 September 2015
Submissions closed on Monday 14 November 2016.
DOC received 3264 submissions, including 2864 Forest & Bird template submissions and a Green Party submission with 2343 signatures.
12 June 2018 letter to submitters
Westpower has proposed some additional measures to address the potential adverse effects on recreation (kayaking and tramping). This letter has been sent out to the submitters who have already made submissions on the application. The letter invites submitters to provide comment on the additional measures proposed by Westpower by 5 pm Wednesday 4 July.