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Mayor welcomes Government support for Te Hoiere/Pelorus

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett today welcomed an announcement by Conservation Minister Hon Eugenie Sage at Te Hora marae in Canvastown which will see Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment benefit from a share of central Government funding and support.

Te Hoiere is the second catchment, and the first in the South Island, to receive a portion of the funds that help restore priority river catchments.

Mayor John Leggett said it’s exciting to see a project which could deliver large scale benefits to a river and estuary that is precious to the Top of the South region.

“Te Hoiere/Pelorus and Havelock estuary provide many economic, cultural, environmental and social benefits to the community. The upper catchment is dominated by native beech forest and provides a home for indigenous animals including the rare native long-tailed bat. It’s also popular as a recreation area for camping, swimming and kayaking.

“Unfortunately the catchment is identified as degraded or at risk of degradation in the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan,” Mayor Leggett said.

“The water quality in the lower Te Hoiere/Pelorus is classed as ‘Good’ in Council’s 2018 Monitoring Report. However, water quality for a number of its sub-catchments, including the Rai/Ronga and the Kaituna, is classed as ‘fair’. Water quality is impacted mainly by high E. coli and inorganic nitrogen concentrations.”

The rivers flow into the Havelock estuary which is classed as ‘very high’ to ‘high’ risk from adverse ecological impacts. The estuary and coastal marine area is heavily impacted by sediments, nutrients (nitrate and phosphorus) and levels of bacteria (E. coli) from the river catchments, and also point source discharges in Havelock.

The Council will work with a Top of the South Alliance including Ngāti Kuia and the Department of Conservation to lead the restoration project. The Alliance will also partner with community organisations, residents and businesses to achieve the outcomes.

“Like central Government, Council recognises the importance of a healthy, sustainable Te Hoiere catchment - from mountains to sea - and we are committed to work together with others to achieve this.

“We will only get comprehensive solutions when we all work together. The local community, businesses and industry groups all have a role to play in helping find solutions to improve water quality in the catchment,” Mayor Leggett said.

The Council’s current programmes in Te Hoiere/Pelorus include coordination of local landowner initiatives including the Catchment Care programme, which encourages landowners to undertake catchment enhancement initiatives at a sub-catchment, local level. Te Hoiere/Pelorus catchment has seen positive results in improved water quality, in particular a reduction of E.coli; historically this involved the dairy farming sector directly addressing stock access to rivers, river crossings and developing farm management plans.

The Council also monitors the state of fresh and marine water quality and habitats through a number of programmes. With Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Council has just launched a $5m seabed survey of Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere, Admiralty Bay and Te Aumiti/French Pass. The data will inform environmental management of the Sounds, and help the Council and iwi to make informed decisions around resource management and marine biodiversity.

Marlborough is also contributing almost $1m for LiDAR mapping to improve understanding of natural hazards and provide farm-scale land information, including in Te Hoiere/Pelorus.


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