NEW ZEALAND HAS SAID IT WILL not yield to pressure to approve a new hydro scheme near Greymouth, on the west coast of the South Island. The National Party has launched a campaign to overturn a government decision blocking the proposed Dobson dam. Supporters of the dam say energy needs will double over the next five years and the dam could provide that energy but the Minister of Conservation says the scheme would destroy valuable land and his decision is final.

The dam is expected to affect an area of 5km2 which is part of a conservation estate. Trustpower, a proponent of the dam, has offered to swap other land in lieu of the affected area. The National Party campaign intends to overturn the government decision, looking for cross-party support to introduce a bill to enable the land swap, and the dam, to go ahead.