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Minister welcomes Rotorua Lakes report

03 April 2006

Minister welcomes Rotorua Lakes report

The release of a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on the Rotorua Lakes restoration programme has been welcomed by Environment Minister David Benson-Pope.

“The Commissioner’s latest report entitled Restoring the Rotorua Lakes – The Ultimate Endurance Challenge is timely and provides strong endorsement for the leadership being provided by the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Joint Committee and being supported by the government,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

The Minister says the government’s approach to both its major lakes programmes, Lake Taupo and the Rotorua Lakes, is based on working with local government and iwi to achieve identified objectives for the lakes. Central and local government have to date committed more than $100million to cleaning up the Taupo and Rotorua Lakes and reducing the impacts of land-based activities on lake water quality.

“I am delighted that the Commissioner has acknowledged the excellent progress now being made, and has described the efforts and considerable resources being invested as ‘superb’. That is a terrific vote of confidence in the programme,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

"The Government has committed more than $17 million to the Rotorua Lakes, including $10 million for research over 10 years, $4 million for the Ohau Channel diversion structure, and $3.2 million for sewage reticulation upgrades.

“I note the Commissioner’s comments that the challenge ahead is enormous – and particularly as the full effects of recent land-use intensification may still be decades away.

"If we are going to make a difference to the water quality of these and other threatened lakes we have to reduce nutrient run-off in their catchments. We cannot have both.

This week Mr Benson-Pope is taking a joint paper to Cabinet with Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Anderton that further tackles these issues. Mr Benson-Pope confirmed that one of the national outcomes identified for freshwater through the Sustainable Water Programme of Action is improving the management of the undesirable effects of land-use on water quality.

ENDS

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