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New Environment Group A First



New Environment Group A First.

How to balance economic development with environmental sustainability is one of the issues confronting a new environmental watchdog group.

‘BayWatch HB’ has just been set up to grapple with this and other issues at a regional level and is thought to be the first of its type in New Zealand.

The group plans to look at how it wants Hawke’s Bay to be in 100 years time and is earmarking areas for long term protection.

BayWatch HB includes over a dozen representatives of local environmental protection groups, which currently tend to be focussed on a single issue.

The idea of the group is to function as an umbrella organisation offering support and information, and also proactively lobbying councils at a strategic level.

Over ninety people attended a meeting last week in Havelock North to set up the organisation and determine areas of focus.

These include protecting water, soil, trees, dealing with sewerage, developing regional parks and ensuring continuing food production.

Locals are concerned that councils are not adhering to their own district plans, and that loopholes can be exploited by developers.

The group has the support of the five local bodies and will work closely with tangata whenua.

The group has been gifted the name “Nga Kaitiaki O Nga Taonga Tuku I ho (Guardians of the natural trasures which have been given us) by Flaxmere kaumatua Horo Kereama Maihi, who gave a karakia at the meeting.

Groups represented include Te Mata Peak Protection Society (PS), Outstanding Natural Features PS, Cape Kidnappers PS, seascape, Sustaining HB Trust, Keirunga Gardens, Collective of Coastal Hapu, Forest and Bird, Nelson Park Action Group, Maraetotara Tree Trust, Ahuriri PS, and Opoutama/Blue Bay Action group.

Spokesperson Liz Remmerswaal says the concept of a regional group is very exciting as is the prospect of working together with a diverse range of people and organisations.

“At the end of the day we are united by our concern for future generations, which is a value that we all can identify with, “ she says.

BayWatch HBb can be contacted by email on baywatchHB@yahoogroups.com


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