Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Govt help needed to fund $170m Rotorua lakes costs

MEDIA RELEASE


Government help needed to fund $170 million Rotorua lakes costs

For immediate release: Tuesday 21 June 2005

A high-level call will go out for Government assistance to help pay for the “absolutely horrendous” cost of improving water quality in the Rotorua lakes.

Updated estimates now put the cost of the work at about $170 million over a 20-year period. And neither the local community, nor the regional community, can afford to pay that much, says Rotorua mayor Kevin Winters, chairman of the Rotorua Lakes Strategy joint committee.

“There is a very real risk that funding the remediation will be beyond our financial capability. It would be a huge burden, and unfair, especially when we remember that significant areas of the Bay of Plenty are among the most deprived in the country.”

Because of this, the strategy partners, Rotorua District Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and Te Arawa Maori Trust Board, will urgently seek “an indication of the level of commitment” they can expect from central Government, Mr Winters says.

Strategic partner representatives will raise their concerns with the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, when she visits Rotorua on July 21.

In late 2003, the Minister for the Environment committed up to $36.7 million to a joint fund for preserving Lake Taupo. “We realise the Government did not want to set a precedent by doing this, but we think we have an extremely good case to put to them. The Rotorua lakes are iconic and are clearly special to the whole nation. They are appreciated by and belong to all New Zealanders, not just those who live near them.”

A year ago, the Government pledged $7.2 million towards short-term measures aimed at rapidly improving water quality in Lake Rotoiti, including sewerage reticulation and the Ohau Channel diversion.
”While we appreciate this assistance, it was always considered an initial contribution,” Mr Winters says.

A report to last Friday’s meeting of the Rotorua Lakes Strategy committee updated the cost estimates for the wide-ranging Rotorua Lakes Protection and Restoration Action Programme. Supported by scientific research, the programme involves the development of Action Plans to improve water quality to an acceptable standard in key Rotorua lakes.

It includes a major programme of sewerage reticulation, which is going to cost Rotorua District Council more than $90 million over the next 10 years. Environment Bay of Plenty’s work is likely to total at least $80 million. This includes wetland construction, the use of minerals to improve water quality, the diversion wall in Lake Rotoiti, and other diversion options.

The report, by consultants McKinlay Douglas Limited, points out that past governments encouraged agricultural development around Rotorua, a major cause of today’s water quality problems. It states that it is unfair, and contrary to general legal principles, to impose “retroactive liability on a sector for the largely unforeseen consequences of an activity, which was both lawful and encouraged by the governments of the day”.

“Effectively, this leaves the choice of payment for remediation as lying between taxpayers and ratepayers, at either or both of the regional and district levels. The argument that the region should bear a greater part of the cost because of the wealth it holds is demonstrably flawed as, on analysis, it collapses to an argument that regional rates should be increased to meet the cost.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them.

Finally, yesterday’s announcement by the Ardern government that a new state agency will be set up to assess and plan the manned re-entry to the mine (on a set timetable) goes a long way to meeting the families’ remaining request: that they be enabled, if at all possible, to bury their loved ones. More>>

 

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election