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Government supports partnership to protect Taupo

25 July 2003 Media Statement

Government supports partnership to protect Lake Taupo

The government has committed to a plan to protect Lake Taupo from the effects of excess nitrogen, Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs announced today.

"Lake Taupo is a treasure and we must protect it – for environmental, economic and cultural reasons," Marian Hobbs said.

“Rural and urban development around the lake is slowly but surely degrading its water quality and clarity. We have compelling evidence of this, and we need to act now to protect the lake in the long term.

"The government recognises it has an important role to play in the sustainable development of the Lake Taupo catchment. "

The project will involve government, Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council, Tûwharetoa and several other agencies working in partnership to change land use in the lake’s catchment area. The partnership aims to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the lake from rural and urban sources by 20 per cent over the next 15 years.

Marian Hobbs believed this was the first time a comprehensive programme linked the economic development of a catchment to an environmental protection programme.

"It is an approach which fits with our Sustainable Development Programme of Action," she added.

"Reducing the amount of nitrogen entering the lake can only be achieved by people changing what they do on their land," Marian Hobbs said.

"We will be working with local government, iwi authorities and others to agree what needs to be done to achieve the target."

Marian Hobbs said that there will be costs associated with the transition to a sustainable development economy in the region over the 15-year period but they would be less than the costs of doing nothing, both environmentally and economically.

ENDS

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