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New fund to help regional councils with environmen

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Research, Science and Technology

15 February 2006 Media Statement

New fund to help regional councils with environmental management


A new government fund is helping regional councils to resolve a range of environmental issues from improving beaches and coastline to protecting the waters of important lakes, Research Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

Around $1.6 million is being provided over the next three years through Envirolink, an initiative to help regional councils get advice from leading scientists on the day-to-day environmental issues they face.

A total of seventeen research organisations are participating in the scheme, and to date seven regional councils have received advice on environmental issues.

"The initiative recognises that local government is at the front-line of environmental management in New Zealand, and can therefore benefit greatly from access to the latest scientific knowledge ," Steve Maharey said.

"An evaluation in 2004 of environmental research showed that while great work was happening, the organisations with the frontline responsibility for managing the environment were not always hearing about it. Envirolink is set to change this."

Councils to receive support through Envirolink include:

- Northland Regional Council for advice on improving the way it monitors its estuaries

- Horizons Regional Council to access advice on sustainable land use, biodiversity, water quality and water allocation issues

- Tasman District Council to manage the extraction of gravel so that the health of the river is maintained, as well as advice on identifying important ecosystems in the region

- The West Coast Regional Council will use Envirolink funding to improve the water quality of Lake Brunner

"Envirolink funding will also invest in projects resolving common environmental management issues faced by regional councils. These are likely to be large projects that will benefit several regional councils," Steve Maharey said.

The Monitoring Manager of Northland Regional Council, Tony Phipps welcomed the Envirolink initiative.

“It really is a good idea and one that will help us design a much more effective monitoring system for our estuaries. I see Envirolink helping us to get much better access to environmental science,” Mr Phipps said.

Lindsay Fung, Team Leader Research for Horizons Regional Council says he sees huge benefits for the council’s environmental priorities.

“The floods of 2004 highlighted that some of our land uses were unsustainable. The storm would still have caused damage but, with more suitable land use, some of those effects could have been mitigated. That’s why good scientific advice is so important.”

ENDS

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