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New Zealand-first Proposal To Transfer Functions To Iwi Authority

Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board could become the first iwi authority in Aotearoa New Zealand to have functions transferred to them by a council under a new proposal just announced.

Waikato Regional Council is proposing to transfer summer bathing beach, regional rivers, rainfall and groundwater quality monitoring within the Lake Taupō catchment to the trust board.

Councillors last Thursday (28 May) heard that Section 33 of the Resource Management Act (RMA) enables a local authority to transfer any one or more of its functions, powers or duties under the act to another public authority, except for the power of transfer itself.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of releasing the statement of proposal for public feedback.

Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington said: “Lake Taupō has become a symbol of near-pristine environmental conditions and is seen as a national treasure. Monitoring of the water quality of Lake Taupō is therefore an essential and vital tool to ensure we can keep our precious national taonga healthy and clean for all to enjoy and use.

“This is an exciting and transformational proposal which acknowledges the unique ownership status of Taupō Waters.

“It would bring efficiencies and potential financial benefits for us, with council staff not required to travel to Taupō as regularly to undertake this work, saving travel time and fuel costs.

“Having local partners on the ground with the technical expertise and skills would provide a range of benefits for this work, including fast response times if equipment is faulty or there’s a major incident,” Cr Rimmington said.

The proposal will open for consultation on Monday 8 June 2020 and close on Wednesday 8 July 2020. To read the proposal and to make a submission, visit waikatoregion.govt.nz/have-your-say.

Background

Waikato Regional Council is proposing to transfer the following functions to the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board:

  • Summer bathing: Weekly collection of water samples at five summer bathing beach sites in Lake Taupō during the summer season (December to February inclusive).
  • Regional rivers: Monthly assessment on water quality at 16 regional rivers which are tributaries to Lake Taupō.
  • Rainfall: Six weekly rainfall monitoring at a single site on the western side of Lake Taupō.
  • Groundwater: Six monthly groundwater level and quality monitoring (April and October) at 40 sites in the Taupō catchment.
  • Groundwater: Biannual groundwater quality monitoring at two schools (Kuratau and Waitahanui).
  • Groundwater: Six weekly groundwater level measurements at 62 sites in the Taupō catchment.

Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board holds legal title as trustee and acts as kaitiaki over Taupō Waters, on behalf of Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

By definition, Taupō Waters include the bed, water column and air space of Lake Taupō and designated portions of the Waihora, Waihaha, Whanganui, Whareroa, Kuratau, Poutu, Waimarino, Tauranga-Taupō, Tongariro, Waipehi, Waiotaka, Hinemaiaia and Waitahanui Rivers, and the Waikato River to Te Toka a Tia, inclusive of the Huka Falls. Taupō Waters does not include the water over that area.

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