Re­gional ef­fort to clean our rivers

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - NANAIA MAHUTA

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.

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