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Environment BOP hopes Gov. will fund lake research

MEDIA RELEASE
Environment Bay of Plenty hopes Government will help fund lake research

For immediate release: Monday 23 February 2004

Environment Bay of Plenty hopes the Government will “think positively” about putting money into costly Rotorua lakes research after a high-level meeting in Wellington on Friday.

At the meeting, the Minister for the Environment Marian Hobbs was briefed by a delegation from the Rotorua Lakes Strategy partnership, which involves Environment Bay of Plenty, Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Trust Board.

Environment Bay of Plenty chairman John Cronin says the session covered lake issues generally, with a focus on Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti’s problems with falling water quality. Ms Hobbs was already “fairly well versed” in lake issues because of her involvement in the Lake Taupo project, he says.

“Clearly, the Minister could give no immediate guarantees of funding assistance,” Mr Cronin adds. “But she did agree that her staff will look into the initial costings for the investigative work needed for Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti. So the issue is now on the Government’s radar screen and further briefings will take place.”

As well as Mr Cronin, the delegation included Rotorua District Council mayor Grahame Hall, Te Arawa Trust Board chairman Anaru Rangiheuea plus the chief executives of the three organisations.

Mr Cronin says staff briefed Ms Hobbs on the scientific aspects of the problems facing the two lakes, which are linked by the Ohau Channel. They presented an overview of the types of actions that could be taken to improve water quality, including building a barrier to channel Lake Rotorua’s water away from Lake Rotoiti.

Mr Cronin says, though the community has not yet decided what actions to take, they are likely to be expensive. Environment Bay of Plenty is currently funding much of the investigative work. “There are huge costs involved and we are looking for support,’ he says.

ENDS

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