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Catastrophe Looms At Lake Omapere

The government's response to the Maori Affairs Select Committee report on Lake Omapere in Northland is a sham and reveals a disturbing level of self delusion, says ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley, who was a member of the committee.

"The deteriorating condition of the lake is due to the Department of Conservation's procrastination since 1996," Mr Shirley said.

"The department's ill-founded opposition to the introduction of grass carp to combat excessive weed growth, threatens the lake's ecological integrity.

"Sandra Lee's expression of pleasure at the 'holistic approach' now being taken is nothing but pap and meaningless babble. It's designed to excuse the department's inadequacy which was fully exposed in the select committee report.

"The committee acknowledged that Lake Omapere was choked with an estimated 55,000 tons of weed last autumn and the predicted inversion and collapse of the lake was narrowly averted by unseasonably heavy rainfall and cooler-than-normal temperatures.

"The weed has stabilized over winter at an estimated 16,000 tons but this is 160 percent of the estimated weed volume last winter and spells disaster for the lake next summer.

"An additional 20,000 grass carp are urgently needed together with mechanical harvesting and removal of weed biomass, to avert a catastrophic collapse.

"Smug denials from the government and their refusal to initiate the necessary action is a disgrace. The people of Northland who value this lake have great cause for outrage.

"I predict now that Lake Omapere will almost inevitably be reduced to a foul smelling cesspit next summer," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS


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