Regional effort to clean our rivers
The Waikato region has been renoun for its rich fertile soils, agricultural and horticultural, industry growth along the Waikato River and its catchment.
But sooner or later something has to give.
That has been water quality and the increasing allocation demand of a resource that we really need to look after.
Just prior to the local body election, the Waikato Regional Council voted in favour of proposals put to it by the Collaborative Steering Group (CSG) made up of regional stakeholders and iwi partners.
Those proposals had been consulted on for approximately two and a half years and brings together proposed changes for land based impacts on the river and water related activities.
These proposals will require a plan change for the Waikato and Waipa river catchments and the public will have an opportunity to participate in that process.
I hope that those people and communities interested in the health of the river take the time to make a submission.
I attended the meeting where the Regional Council made the decision to accept that the proposed plan changes would be put forward for public consultation and there were several views critical of the time period that a change in land use would come into effect.
If you would like more information you can go to a local regional council office in Paeroa or Hamilton or the website at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/ healthyrivers.
The closing date for submissions is 5pm on 8th March 2017.
Iwi partners will be pleased that further progress will be made towards improving the health of the Waikato and Waipa catchments.
However this effort requires a whole of community response to support the endeavours to have clean water and more efficient utilisation.
At a time when social media is full of outrage over how the indigenous people of South Dakota are being treated for protesting against the laying of a pipeline which threatens their sacred burial grounds, it is a salient lesson that in Aotearoa NZ we can do things differently.
Treaty Settlements have changed the type of conversation New Zealanders have about the way in which our region can grow and develop.
Robust informed decisionmaking can occur as long as there is a willingness to listen and understand a perspective vested in the future sustainability of our natural resources.
MP Nanaia Mahuta is the MP for Waikato-Tainui.