Don’t ignore Waikato Healthy Rivers plan
Healthy Rivers now referred to as Plan Change 1 is still the most topical item for most rural people. Ignore it at your peril. We all know that the plan was adopted by Waikato Regional Council days before the elections last year.
The vote was tied seven for and seven against with then chairwoman Paula Southgate using her casting vote to push the plan through. The process in developing the plan was then successfully challenged in court by Hauraki Iwi which resulted in a reasonably large area of the catchment being removed from the plan while council consults with Hauraki iwi.
The next court case was then initiated by a number of farmerorganisations challenging the process that council had undertaken.
This looks set to go to court around the middle of the year.
In February this year council discussed changes to its annual plan and budget for the next year commencing July 1, 2017.
One proposed change was to include an additional sum of $1.68m for capital expenditure required to implement the proposed plan together with a further $1.068m for operational work associated with the plan.
This was approved by majority vote as well as the decision not to consult the community on this change as it was being loanfunded and as such will have minimum effect on rates.
Council had engaged consultants, Insight Economics in Auckland, to review the funding options for implementing the proposed plan.
Their estimate was a total cost of $19.8m over 10 years. They further recommended that this was funded by all ratepayers not just farmers.
What was of concern was their advice ‘‘that economic modelling suggests that the plan will reduce farming profits by around 4 per cent per annum, which is significant’’.
Town and country folk alike are encouraged to submit on any part of the proposed plan. Do you support or oppose it? Remember all submissions must be made by March 8, 2017
Hugh Vercoe, Waikato Regional Council, Waihou constituency councillor.
Zoe Reichardt, is a finalist for the Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year title.