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Funding Approved For Lake Omapere

19 September 2001 Media Statement

The Government has agreed to help fund the restoration of Lake Omapere, the Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, and the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, announced today.

This follows an inquiry into the lake by the Maori Affairs Select Committee and a request for funding assistance from the Lake Omapere Trustees and the Northland Regional Council.

Mr Horomia noted that Lake Omapere is the largest lake in Northland and is a taonga of immeasurable importance to Ngapuhi.

"The state of this lake is a cause for much sadness for Ngapuhi," he said.

Marian Hobbs said unless the government assisted with the restoration of this lake, it would probably collapse this summer, leading to a toxic algal bloom.

"We have the opportunity to prevent the complete loss of lake vegetation that has occurred in many other shallow lakes," she said.

Mr Horomia said the agreement, which was championed by the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hon Dover Samuels, provides government funding of up to two-thirds of the costs associated with the restoration of the lake (up to $640,000 plus GST). The balance is to come from local government. No commitment has been made for further funding.

"Te Puni Kokiri's financial support recognises the importance of Lake Omapere to the Trustees and the people of Ngapuhi," Mr Horomia said. "The lake has a special role in iwi development and building local capacity, whilst also being of great cultural significance."

The responsibility for the day-to-day running of this project will rest with the Northland Regional Council, Marian Hobbs said.

"The first task will be to control the lake weed, probably using herbicides and grass carp. We will also need to look towards the long-term management of the catchment," she said.

Ends

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