Meridian Energy has applied to the Councils and DOC for consents and concessions to dam the gorge. It’s on protected conservation land, and has historic artifacts such as the old pack track and bridge toppled in the 1929 Murchison earthquake.
The Greens argue that these far outweigh the benefits of 310-360GW hours per year that the dam would produce, especially when the Arnold run-of-river 430GWh scheme is likely to go ahead and solve the West Coast’s security and efficiency of supply issues.
The other value of the Mokihinui is as a jewel in the 100% pure tourism crown of New Zealand. It’s easy for the Greens to say this, but it’s not just us who do – it’s the tourists who come there and support the local economy.
Today the Government trumpeted the one millionth Australian visitor to New Zealand this year. At the same time, one of those visitors wrote about their experience in the Lifestyle section of the Byron Shire News. The account of “Wild west adventure” tourism on the West Coast of the South Island says:
MAORI legend tells us the first person to set foot in New Zealand was Maui, who came ashore on the South Island’s wild and rugged West Coast at a place now called Bruce Bay. …
[Bruce Bay] is just one of the unexpected discoveries that make exploring this coastline such a delight. …
While the coast offers a never ending variety of natural vistas, there are also many man made attractions to keep you busy… But the main attractions along the West Coast are undoubtedly those nature has provided. …
North of Westport, on the banks of the untamed Mokihinui River, I find one of my favourite experiences.