Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Delight at Otuihau-Hatea water quality improvement project

22 June 2017 Number of pages: 02

Delight as Otuihau-Hatea water quality improvement project funded

Long-running attempts to improve water quality issues at the iconic Whangarei Falls have been given a $250,000-plus boost from the Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund.

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith confirmed the $258,000 funding – to be paid out over the next three years – during a visit to Whangarei today (subs: Thurs 22 June).

The project aims to improve water quality at the falls because of the high community interest and value attributed to the area, thrilling the Northland Regional Council, which will make its own $150,000 cash contribution from its own Environment Fund over the same period.

The falls sit just within the western boundary of the council’s Coastal Central constituency and the area’s Tutukaka-based representative, Councillor Paul Dimery, says the project focusses on improving water quality by;

Contributing funding for riparian fencing and planting
Contributing to stock water systems where needed to help enable fencing
Signage at the falls reserve to help educate the community on the values of the water there (including cultural and ecological) and what people can do to help.

Councillor Dimery says there’s already strong collaboration within a broad community group overseeing the project, including the regional council, its Whangarei District counterpart, Whitebait Connection, Pehiaweri Marae, Tikipunga Community Development Trust (including Tiki Pride) and the Northland District health Board.

“The MfE funding is a great boost to these efforts and while it certainly won’t be an overnight process, collectively this work should ultimately make a noticeable difference to water quality over time.”

Lorna Douglas, the regional council’s Farm Plan Manager, says stronger rules proposed by the Whangarei Harbour Catchment Group to help improve water quality are also due to come into force within the next several years under the council’s draft Regional Plan.

“These will also help, as they will legally require landowners to fence stock out of waterways upstream of a number of identified swimming sites, including the falls.”

Ms Douglas says the area just above the 26-metre high Whangarei Falls has been a popular freshwater swimming spot – especially over summer – for many years.

“However, over recent years water quality hasn’t met recreational bathing standards roughly a third of the time it’s been tested over a typical summer, and we’ve been working closely with the district council to try to improve this.”

She says testing showed the main sources of bacteria in its water are from either wild birds or stock in the Hatea River catchment, with water quality issues worse after heavy rain.

“Fencing stock away from waterways will not only reduce bacterial levels, it will also lessen the amount of sediment from streambank erosion finding its way into the water, which will improve water clarity too.”

Councillor Dimery says the work will also help to make the falls a more pleasant and potentially safer destination for the thousands of locals and tourists – both domestic and international – who visit each year.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election