Don’t ig­nore Waikato Healthy Rivers plan

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - HUGH VERCOE

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.