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Waikato River Authority reflects on strong first year

Media Release
23 December 2011
embargoed until 6pm

Waikato River Authority reflects on strong first year

The Waikato River Authority held its first Annual General Meeting this evening reflecting on significant achievements as it moved from establishment to its first funding round.

The Authority is a co-governance body established between the Crown and Waikato River Iwi to restore the Waikato River. It is co-chaired by Mr Tukoroirangi Morgan and the Hon John Luxton.

As part of its establishment phase this year the Authority received its first allocation of funds from the Government that will be reallocated towards projects that clean up the Waikato River. The Authority also confirmed its vision and strategy and signed a key partnership agreement with the Waikato Regional Council in the past year.

Co Chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says one of the highlights for the year was receiving the first round of applications to fund clean up projects.

“Our reason for existence is to restore the Waikato River so receiving the details of the first projects that will help achieve this was undoubtedly a highlight. We’re also pleased that we have been able to generate sufficient understanding of the role of the Authority in a relatively short time which has resulted in excess of $50 million of funding applications.”

Co Chair John Luxton says the collaborative way in which the Waikato River Authority has begun its work is a solid pointer to the future.

“We’ve always said that it will be by working together across the whole community that we will achieve our goals. The relationships we have established with our key partners and the collaborative nature of potential projects indicates that we have started well.”

There have been 119 applications to the Waikato River Authority for funding of projects that clean up the Waikato River with a total of $56.3 million.

The Waikato River Authority is allocating $6 million in its first year of funding.

The Authority expects to notify successful applicants of projects under $50,000 before the end of March next year with decisions on the larger projects before the end of May.

The AGM heard that the Authority would be looking to consolidate on its strong start in the year ahead with additional work on measuring its effectiveness.

The Authority’s region for funding includes the Waikato River and its catchment from Huka Falls through to Port Waikato. It also includes the lower part of the Waipa River below the junction with the Puniu River (near Pirongia).

The government has committed $210 million over the next 30 years to ensure the Authority has the resources it needs to protect the Waikato River from further degradation.

More information about the Waikato River Authority is available on it’s website www.waikatoriver.org.nz .

Ends

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