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Landcare Group Backs Targeted Rates Review

Landcare Group Backs Targeted Rates Review

A Coromandel conservation group is backing efforts to revise the targeted rates imposed by Waikato Regional Council on peninsula communities for harbour and catchment management.

Upper Coromandel Landcare Association spokesperson Reihana Robinson proposed the review at an August 21 meeting of the WRC Coromandel Zone Liaison Subcommittee in Whitianga. Robinson is one of seven community representatives on the panel, which also includes TCDC, iwi, forestry interests, DOC, and WRC.

The Coromandel subcommittee, in an 8-1 vote with four abstentions, requested the regional council, as part of its 2015-25 long-term planning process, “to review and consider its funding and revenue policies (including the Peninsula Project) for all Coromandel harbour, catchment and coastal marine area planning and management, and to consider restoring the previous full regional funding for these activities as appropriate and consistent with its funding practice for other major regional assets.”

“The Coromandel coastline is an undisputed national treasure”, Robinson said. “Our harbours, rivers, and coastal waters are among the region’s foremost environmental and economic assets. Funding to manage these assets should not fall on the shoulders of locals. It should be paid by the region as a whole.”

In support of her proposal, Robinson noted that WRC levies special charges across the region to clean up industrial dairy pollution in Lake Taupo and fund the $27m bicycle track in Cambridge. Regional, not locally targeted, rates also support WRC’s annual grants of $300,000 to maintain the Maungatautari fence project.

“If the entire region pays for Lake Taupo, the velodrome, and MEIT because they are considered regionally significant, then the entire region should be maintaining the crown-jewel Coromandel coastline,” Robinson said.

“Current regional council rating policy is inappropriate and unfair in light of other WRC funding policy. To be consistent, the so-called Peninsula Project rate, as well as local charges on communities like Whangamata, Tairua and Te Puru, should be scrapped,” she said.

“Regional funding for the Coromandel is nothing new or radical,” Robinson said. “Stopbanks on the North Shore are funded by the entire Auckland Region, not local residents. As for our own harbour management services, full regional funding was the case until 2009. We say, it’s time for WRC to go back to the future.”

UCLA is also seeking changes to wild animal control practices, with an aim of protecting native species, safeguarding human health, minimising animal cruelty, creating jobs, and limiting adverse impacts on the peninsula’s critical tourism and primary production sectors.


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