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Welcome Boost for Rotorua Lakes


Welcome Boost for Rotorua Lakes

For immediate release: 26 March 2008

Environment Bay of Plenty has welcomed today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that the Government will be contributing $72.1 million to restore the Rotorua Lakes.

This morning Prime Minister Helen Clark told visitors at Otaramarae, in Rotorua, that the money will be used over 10 years to improving the health of four key lakes.

The lakes to benefit from the funding are Rotorua, Rotoiti, Rotoehu and Okareka. Classed as national treasures, the lakes are popular with Rotorua residents and visitors for swimming, boating and fishing.

However, as the land around the lakes has been settled and farmed, more and more nutrients have run into the water. Over time, these nutrients have caused the water quality to deteriorate, leading to algal blooms which can be toxic. The worst case is Lake Rotorua where the lake is seriously affected for most of the year.

The total cost of the restoration programme is $144.2 million over the next decade. The Government will meet half of the costs with the remainder to be paid by Rotorua District Council and Environment Bay of Plenty.

Environment Bay of Plenty Chairman John Cronin was delighted that the Prime Minister recognised the importance of the lakes to the country and confirmed the Regional Council would meet its 50% contribution.

“This morning’s announcement builds on our Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Government last year. It gives the Regional Council the certainty it needs to cement its programme of works to protect and restore the lakes in the future,” says Mr Cronin.

Mr Cronin also thanked local MP and Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick for her support with the lakes restoration programme.

Meanwhile a series of measures have already been introduced to tackle the heath of the Rotorua lakes.

A wetland has been built on Lake Okareka, in conjunction with a local farmer, and floating wetlands are being trialled.

Environment Bay of Plenty, Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust are working with the community to protect, and in some cases improve the water quality of the Rotorua Lakes. This joint project is called the Rotorua Lakes Protection and Restoration Action Programme.

Representatives from these three organisations have formed the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group which coordinates policy and actions to improve the Rotorua lakes.

“We look forward to working in partnership with the Government and the community on actions to address the health of our lakes,” says Mr Cronin.


Background Information

Rotorua Lakes

For more general info visit http://www.ebop.govt.nz/Water/Lakes/Lakes.asp

Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group

The Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group is made up of representatives from Environment Bay of Plenty, Te Arawa Trust Board and Rotorua District Council. It coordinates policy and actions to improve the Rotorua lakes. The committee is now established in law, as part of the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement, for coordinated management of the Rotorua lakes.

Land Use Futures Board

The Land Use Futures Board was set up to involve landowners directly with dealing with the issue of the water quality in the Rotorua lakes and finding solutions. This board enables Environment Bay of Plenty to work with farmers and encourage them to come up with their solutions for reducing nutrient run off into the lakes. Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands Incorporated chief executive Rick Vallance is chairman.

If you would like background information on the Rotorua Lakes or any of the projects then contact Rotorua Lakes Programme Manager Andy Bruere on 0800 ENV BOP ext 7497.


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