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TANK Group can change the Plan

Media Release
20 August 2013

TANK Group can change the Plan

HBRC is working with a collaborative stakeholder group to develop policies and actions to improve the management of land and water in the Greater Heretaunga and Ahuriri areas. The project is called ‘TANK’.

The ‘TANK’ group, named after the Tūtaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū catchments it is focussing on, is 30 representatives from the agricultural and horticultural sectors, environmental and community interest groups and tangata whenua. The membership list is on HBRC’s website.

TANK has been asked to identify common objectives and develop workable solutions for the four catchments. Issues under discussion include the need to provide water for irrigation, prevent contamination of waterways and to ensure water is safe for recreation and drinking. The solutions proposed by the group will feed into policy development, before HBRC moves to notify a Plan Change in 2016, under the Regional Resource Management Plan.

TANK project manager and HBRC Policy Advisor Tim Sharp says the robust discussion that is taking place plays a key role in establishing common ground, and then looking at what could be adopted into a plan change.

“In the most recent meeting, the TANK Group agreed that the Ngaruroro River is in good shape and that we need to keep it that way. However it’s no surprise that the drought this year was a major factor, with the river dropping to extremely low levels. That’s been the basis for a good discussion on river values and irrigation needs and how the resource can be shared,” said Mr Sharp.
“The same discussion applies across TANK’s focus area, where 85% of Hawke’s Bay’s economic production occurs and where 85% of our people live,” said Mr Sharp.

Future TANK meetings will continue to look at issues in the rivers and estuaries throughout the TANK area as well as the impacts of urban, rural and industrial storm water runoff into the marine environment.

The TANK group still has a lot to discuss, but some clear messages are coming through on each catchment:

• Ngaruroro River is an incredibly valuable resource to Hawke’s Bay, for ecological, recreation, cultural and economic purposes – the water quality here is very good and it needs to be maintained
• Karamū Stream is in a very degraded state – improvement is a focus
• Ahuriri Estuary is of major ecological, recreational and cultural significance, and rainfall runoff from rural, urban and industrial areas needs to be carefully managed
• Tūtaekuri River is not under pressure for water use, although more intensive land uses over the last decade need to be monitored for effects on water quality

The TANK project will bring a report to HBRC’s Regional Planning Committee (comprising equal numbers of Treaty Claimant Group representatives and Councillors) before the end of 2013. This report will describe what is known about the state of the catchments and the key drivers for policy review, including some indication of the policies the group is considering.

Success for the project would ultimately be for policies recommended by the TANK group to be adopted as part of the Regional Resource Management Plan, with fewer submissions and appeals.

TANK is one of the first groups nationally to undertake a collaborative process to give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM 2011). This work in the greater Heretaunga and Ahuriri catchments is being watched closely by other councils and agencies as it progresses.

For more information on the TANK project, visit www.hbrc.govt.nz, keyword: TANK.

ENDS

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