Wednesday 13th Nov, 3:00pm



  • Richard Purdon
    Environment Canterbury




When is a riverbed not a riverbed? It appears the RMA answer is: when the river is braided. This poses major issues for the sustainable management of some of the most iconic rivers in New Zealand. It is particularly vexing in Canterbury where the bulk of braided rivers are located and where there is great demand for flat land that can be intensified for farming. The result of this has been the loss of 500 Ha per year of ecologically sensitive habitat that is critical the functioning of rare braided river ecosystems. This presentation will discuss how the RMA defines a riverbed and the challenges we have had in Canterbury when trying to enforce the s13 provisions in the context of braided rivers. Lessons will be shared using several case studies where landholders have been pursued for undertaking unauthorised works in braided rivers. It is hoped that these will assist others involved in compliance monitoring and enforcement work across New Zealand to carry out their duties better and avoid the pitfalls that exist.


Richard Purdon
Principal Consent Planner, Environment Canterbury


Richard has 18 years of RMA implementation experience and is presently a Principal Consent Planner at Environment Canterbury. While his current role involves making consent decisions and providing technical guidance on consent planning matters, most of his experience has been in Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement. He has been involved in everything CME from responding to pollution complaints, to monitoring large consents, to providing evidence in prosecutions.