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Ministers visit Lake Taupo

Ministers visit Lake Taupo

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton and Environment Minister Marian Hobbs will spend the day in Taupo tomorrow meeting with the partners in the recently announced Lake Taupo protection plan, including Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council and Tûwharetoa.

The project sees several agencies working in partnership to change land use in the lake’s catchment area to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the lake by 20 per cent over the next 15 years.

Mr Sutton said Lake Taupo had iconic status in New Zealand, and the government was committed to working in partnership with other groups to ensure its future.

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said that the sustainable development approach taken by the partnership is one key to solving such difficult issues.

"Partnerships such as this are the key to preserving our society and environment. I look forward to meeting with our partners, discussing progress so far, and setting out the next steps," Marian Hobbs said.

Environment Waikato Chairman Neil Clarke said he was extremely encouraged by the government's agreement to support the partnership, which has been working on finding solutions to the many issues involved in protecting the Lake from excessive nitrogen. He said a partnership approach was important in finding a resolution of the Lake's problems.

"It is vital to find fair and equitable solutions to this difficult issue and share the burden for the future of a lake which is precious to everyone. We need a solution to sustain both the Lake's health and the viability of the surrounding community," Mr Clarke said.

The Taupo community will need plenty of time to work through the issues, he said.

"The benefits of taking action and ensuring a sustainable future for the Taupo catchment far outweigh the costs of doing nothing and facing an irreversible decline in lake water quality," Mr Clarke added.

Mayor Clayton Stent said the protection of Lake Taupo is the single most important issue facing the district and Taupo District Council was looking forward to the opportunity for constructive discussion with the ministers.

"We want to make sure that the financial cost of protecting the lake doesn't fall largely on local residents and it's heartening to see that central Government has recognised that Lake Taupo is a national treasure that must be protected," Mr Stent said.

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