The Ashburton water zone committee is a joint committee of Ashburton District Council and Environment Canterbury.

The committee's role is to work with the community to develop actions and tactics to deliver on the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

It recommends these actions and tactics to various agencies for implementation.

View members

Community members
Ben Curry

Ben is chief executive of the Rangitata Diversion Race Management, the largest and oldest water supply organisation in New Zealand, which supplies water to the Ashburton District Council for domestic and stockwater use, to TrustPower for hydro-generation and more than 350 farming businesses. Ben is a member of Irrigation NZ and the Ashburton Water User Group. He is widely experienced as a communicator, manager, negotiator and leader. Prior to his engagement with the RDRML he spent 22 years as an officer in the Royal Marines in the United Kingdom. Ben is married with three children, enjoys cycling, cricket, sailing, canoeing and diving.

Gordon Guthrie

Gordon has a strong technical knowledge of the electricity/energy industry and a broad understanding of the local productive, environmental, economic and community issues. He is the general manager of Electricity Ashburton with more than 30 years’ experience across all sectors of the electricity industry. He was involved in the construction and operation of the Montalto hydroelectric station on the Rangitata Diversion Race and has undertaken feasibility studies for water storage and hydro generation potential in the Ashburton district. He developed the joint venture with Barhill-Chertsey Irrigation to construct a new pipe irrigation scheme and worked closely with the Ashburton Community Water Trust to integrate generation with irrigation and the subsequent consent process for the Rakaia Terrace Project. Gordon and his wife Debbie run a small cattle stud on their Winchmore property.

Chris Allen

Chris Allen is the Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury Provincial president, and chair of its regional policy committee. He has been an active member of the Ashburton River Water User group, is on the MGM governance group, and has been chair of the CLWP since its formation two years ago. He currently farms sheep, beef and mixed cropping on 360 hectares of land which is fully irrigated from surface and ground water at Ashburton Forks. Chris has been involved in the Mount Somers Springburn School Board of Trustees and the Lions Club.

William Thomas

William Thomas is a farmer in the lower Hinds. His family has farmed the historic Longbeach Estate for more than 150 years. The farm is a mixed sheep, beef, dairy grazing and arable operation which also includes a self-contained dairy unit. The estate has a commercial function centre; hosting events such as weddings, business and sports events. William is a member of the Eiffelton Irrigation Scheme and has 17 years’ experience as a commercial director, including directorship of PGG Wrightson Ltd. He has also served on two school Boards of Trustees.

John Waugh

John is a retired hydrologist living in Ashburton who has a keen interest in freshwater management and is a member of Forest and Bird. Since forming, John has taken an active interest in the work of the Ashburton zone committee, often attending and presenting at meetings and is a highly valued member of the Hinds Drains Working Party. John’s local knowledge, expertise and ability to work collaboratively make him a suitable candidate to appoint.

Angela Cushnie

Angela Cushnie is a lifestyle block owner in the Hinds area, and for more than twenty years has owned and operated a marketing and communication business that engages with a wide sector of the business and agricultural community. In addition she is involved in community activities such as the Longbeach Coastal Challenge Committee, Project for Life (a pilot project that engages with primary industry stakeholders), and the Outward Bound Council.

Cargill Henderson

Cargill Henderson is an Environmental Manager at ANZCO, whose work involves managing and operating environmental management systems for the company, including meeting ECan resource consent requirements through improving on-plant waste treatment systems, water management and compliance reporting. In previous roles he has supervised the installation and maintenance of telemetered environmental monitoring stations and overseen their certification for water meter installation, verification and data management across five New Zealand Regional Councils. He brings technical and data management experience to the committee, as well as a background in monitoring of groundwater, surface water and other environmental parameters.

Rūnanga representatives
  • Tuahuriri — Arapata Reuben
  • Taumutu — Vacant

  • Arowhenua — Karl Russell

Ashburton District Council appointment
  • Stuart Wilson
Environment Canterbury appointment
David Caygill

David Caygill is Deputy-Chair of Environment Canterbury. As a commissioner appointed by the government, he has particular responsibility for the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. David had three terms as a Christchurch City councillor and six terms as a Member of Parliament where he held ministerial portfolios in trade and industry, health and finance before reverting to the law as a partner in Buddle Findlay. He brings a significant background in politics at both local and national level as well as strong management and governance skills. His previous work in the electricity sector will be valuable when working through the issues of water allocation.

View agendas and meeting papers

Join the Ashburton Water Management Zone Committee

Applications to join the Ashburton Water Management Zone Committee are now closed.

How are zone committee members selected?

Water zone committee members are appointed after councils advertise for expressions of interest from the community.

Applicants are assessed on skills, expertise and experience, as well as their ability to work together to develop water management solutions to economic, social, cultural and environmental issues.

Each water zone committee has between seven and 10 members, including:

  • An Environment Canterbury appointee
  • A local territorial authority councillor
  • A rūnanga appointee
  • Between four and six local members nominated from the community who come from a variety of backgrounds and interests.

Members serve for three years, meeting every few weeks to gather information from stakeholders and the community to ensure all interests are represented.

Upcoming meetings and agendas

Find out when your zone's next meeting is and read the agenda.

Zone Implementation Programmes

Zone Implementation Programmes or 'ZIPs' were developed in the early stages of the zone committees' existence, following the adoption of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

While we may have moved on in terms of our priorities in each zone, ZIPs remain the foundation of the work we do.

You can download the Ashburton ZIP and addendum using the buttons at the bottom of the page and view submissions on the draft ZIP here.