Agreement will speed compliance response
It is hoped the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Ruapehu District Council and Horizons will result in quicker responses to protecting the environment.
Under the MOU Ruapehu compliance officers are now contracted to provide-on-theground response to any issues associated with the environment.
Those issues include dumping of refuse, dead stock, abandoned vehicles in riverbeds and air quality complaints.
Ruapehu Group manager for Community Services Margaret Hawthorne said Horizons will assess the call and decide if an on-the-ground response is required from a Ruapehu compliance officer.
‘‘The RDC compliance officers attending the callout will manage the event to stop or prevent any further nuisance or damage being caused and collect any evidence if required.’’
John Chapman from the National Park Community Board said the memorandum of understanding is a small step towards clamping down on people damaging the environment but a more approach is needed.
‘‘Our policy of waste minimisation has in large measure created the issue by using the now-discredited user-pays system to reduce the amount of waste we produce.
‘‘It simply transfers the burden on to those that can least afford it when in fact it is the manufacturers who are the problem.’’
Chapman said reducing the cost of rubbish bags to people on low incomes including education and getting businesses such as supermarkets to reduce plastic would be more effective.
Horizons strategy and policy group manager, Dr Nic Peet said holistic any decisions relating to enforcement action will still be made by Horizons.
Staff will still undertake planned inspections of consented activities in the Ruapehu District, such as vegetable washers, wastewater treatment plants and farm effluent.
‘‘As a district with an economy built on and around its natural resources, the MOU helps brings the compliance end of environmental management closer together between Ruapehu’s two territorial authorities.’’
Reports can call Horizons on the free 24/7 pollution hotline on 508 800 800.
It is hoped more resources by the Ruapehu District Council and Horizons will reduce people damaging the environment illegally.