Thursday March 22, 2018   Last updated 15:06PM

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Protection sought for Waikoropupu Springs

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A bid by a Nelson iwi for protection of the country’s largest freshwater springs has received a favourable hearing.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has referred Ngati Tama Ki Te Waipounamu Trust’s application for a Water Conservation Order for Waikoropupu Springs to a special tribunal.

He says the springs, which contain the clearest water measured anywhere in the world, deserve consideration for the highest protection possible for a water body.

Water conservation orders are the equivalent of National Park status for a water body and override any district or regional plan.

There are 15 orders nationwide covering 13 rivers and two lakes.

There is controversy in the region over the impact of a potential water bottling plant and about nutrient run-off.

The tribunal will hear submissions and make a recommendation to the Minister for the Environment, which can be appealed to the Environment Court.

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