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People surveyed for views on lake values

MEDIA RELEASE

People surveyed for views on lake values

For immediate release: Wednesday 18 February 2004

Bay of Plenty people are being asked how much they value Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti and what they might be willing to pay to improve water quality.

Last week, Environment Bay of Plenty posted out nearly 600 survey forms to randomly selected households in Rotorua and other parts of the Bay of Plenty. It also sent the survey to 230 anglers in Auckland.

Rotorua Lakes Strategy coordinator Paul Dell hopes the survey will “help us understand the value the community places on less tangible qualities, like fresh air or living in an unspoilt environment. Someone who drives around Lake Rotorua to get to work may value it highly because of that, for example.”

The survey’s results will be used to help sort solutions to the problems faced by the linked lakes. People’s views will be worked into future policies and actions, Mr Dell says. “So it is really important that people fill out the questionnaire and return it to us. We want to know what they think so that good decisions can be made.”

The survey asks for people’s views on current lake quality and includes questions about the types and frequency of recreational use and whether that would increase if there were no algal blooms.

It also seeks to find out how much households would be willing to pay extra to help fund a nutrient-reduction programme to improve water quality. Mr Dell says the issue of paying for lakes work is important and potentially volatile. “We want to know if people think the lakes are worth preserving whatever the cost or if they think perhaps that someone else should pay, like the Government or the polluter. Some people may not even accept the scenario of deteriorating water quality, so we want to know that too.”

ENDS

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