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Taupo Protection Trust gets $81.5 million go-ahead

31 October 2006

Lake Taupo Protection Trust gets $81.5 million go-ahead

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope and Taupo MP Mark Burton today announced that Cabinet has approved the Lake Taupo Protection Trust's administration of the $81.5 million fund to protect Lake Taupo's water quality.

"This is the last step in getting the Lake Taupo Protection Trust up and running, and a significant landmark in the government’s contribution to the ongoing protection of a special place with significance for all New Zealanders and international visitors," said Mr Burton.

“I want to acknowledge that all those involved have been working long and hard to establish an effective way of administering this fund on behalf of all tax payers. Finalising the administrative structure has taken longer than expected, but the result encourages action and accountability,” he said.

The government committed $36.7 million (including GST) in Budget 2005. Together with money provided by Environment Waikato and Taupo District Council, this forms a joint fund of $81.5 million to be used to to protect Lake Taupo’s water quality.

“This is the largest environmental project in New Zealand, and I'm delighted we're able to ensure it can achieve its purpose of improving water quality in our biggest natural lake,” Mr Benson-Pope said.

"Water is one of our most valued natural assets, and is at the heart of environmental quality. Water quality in Lake Taupo is declining because of increased concentrations of nitrogen leaching into it from the surrounding land, resulting in increased algal growth and decreased water clarity.

“The establishment of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust cements our partnership with Environment Waikato and the Lake Taupo District Council to encourage and assist land-users reduce the amount of nitrogen going into Lake Taupo,” said Mr Benson-Pope. "It's a demonstration of this government's commitment to progress under the Sustainable Water Programme of Action."

The Trust will be accountable to a Joint Committee made up of representatives from Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council, the Crown, and nominees of the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board, who are holders of the title and kaitiaki of Lake Taupo. It will be required to prepare an annual Statement of Intent, report regularly to the Committee and review the project at least every five years.

ENDS

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