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Strategy proposed to restore and protect the River

Wednesday 07 May 2008

Vision and Strategy proposed to restore and protect the Waikato River

A proposed new Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River has been released for public consultation and submissions.

The document, entitled ‘Restoring and Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of the Waikato River’, has been developed by the Guardians Establishment Committee (GEC) and includes a strong focus on co-management opportunities. The GEC was formed in March this year to develop the vision and strategy and consult on it.

After considering all submissions from the consultation the GEC will then make any adjustments it considers appropriate within its terms of reference before it sends a final version to the Crown and Waikato-Tainui for their approval.

The GEC is made up of 16 members – 4 from Waikato-Tainui, 4 from other river iwi and 8 appointed by the Crown.

Releasing the proposed Vision and Strategy, the co-Chairs of the GEC, Tukoroirangi Morgan and Gordon Blake, said that it represents a unique approach to bring together one vision and strategy for the Waikato River.

“This is a world-leading method which gives us a holistic, long-term approach to the management of the river through research and science and using best practice models in all aspects of river management.”

Underpinning the Vision are a number of objectives and various strategies which will work towards those objectives and ultimately realise the Vision.

“The committee agreed that the river has been degraded and that a new management approach was needed to restore the health of the river and protect it for future generations,” Mr Blake said.

The GEC’s vision is “for a future where a healthy Waikato River sustains abundant life and prosperous communities who, in turn, are all responsible for restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River, and all it embraces, for generations to come”, said Mr Morgan.

In setting the vision for the river, the GEC accepts that the river has been degraded over the years and it should not be required to absorb further degradation as a result of human activities.

It recommends a ‘precautionary’ approach towards future decisions that may result in significant adverse effects on the Waikato River. It also recommends the recognition and avoidance of adverse cumulative effects of activities undertaken on the Waikato River and within its catchments.

The strategy involves a wide range of central, regional and local government agencies as well as Waikato-Tainui and other river iwi.

“A lot of the initial work requires relationship building between all the parties involved as well as a number of research projects to identify priority issues which need to be dealt with to achieve the vision,” Mr Blake said.

“It will involve all communities associated with the river or impacting on it from Huka Falls to Te Puuaha o Waikato (the mouth of the Waikato River).”

The document is open for public consultation until Friday 23rd May. It is being widely distributed to individuals, iwi and organisations throughout the Waikato along with a submission form.

The document, along with other relevant documents and the submission form, are also available for download at the GEC website www.river.org.nz.


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