Car­bon neu­tral call for Bay

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DRE CHUMKO

Hawke’s Bay res­i­dents are be­ing asked to plant five trees a year in a bid to make the re­gion the first car­bon-neu­tral prov­ince in the coun­try.

At the first Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil meet­ing of the year on Wed­nes­day, chair­man Rex Gra­ham called for the mo­bil­i­sa­tion of ci­ti­zen ac­tion.

‘‘It is clear that many of our cur­rent farm­ing prac­tices are un­sus­tain­able and need to change, that our for­est har­vest­ing prac­tices need to greatly im­prove and that our storm and waste wa­ter sys­tems are of­ten abysmal.’’

It was un­ac­cept­able to dis­charge raw sewage into wa­ter­ways, and such emis­sions were be­cause of ‘‘poor pri­ori­tis­ing of cap­i­tal, un­der-en­gi­neer­ing, ne­glect and in­com­pe­tence’’.

‘‘I want us to aim to be the first car­bon neu­tral prov­ince in New Zealand – and that goal is well within our reach.’’

The coun­cil’s Kahutia Ac­cord project, which pro­posed pre­vent­ing mil­lions of tonnes of sed­i­ment en­ter­ing lo­cal wa­ter­ways by plant­ing about 200,000 hectares of trees over the next 10 years, would en­able the goal to be re­alised.

The project’s first step was de­vel­op­ing nurs­eries, with plant­ing sched­uled to be­gin in about two years. It was es­ti­mated the cost would be about $2000 a hectare. The coun­cil will be ask­ing the govern­ment to match a pro­posed $100 mil­lion coun­cil fund, on top of iwi con­tri­bu­tions.

‘‘Kahutia –a cloak of trees over the land – will be a part­ner­ship be­tween the Nga¯ti Kahun­gunu Iwi and coun­cil to be­gin the process of re-forest­ing our erod­ing hill coun­try,’’ Gra­ham said.

The coun­cil would need help plant­ing trees from Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Prison, marae and com­mer­cial en­ti­ties. Ratepay­ers would also have to con­trib­ute.

‘‘This might cost the av­er­age house­holder a lit­tle bit more per week and the ques­tion that we all need to ask our­selves is whether we are in­vest­ing enough, rel­a­tive to the wealth we ex­tract from our nat­u­ral re­sources.’’

Gra­ham also pro­posed a sub­group of the coun­cil’s TANK proj- ect be es­tab­lished, con­sist­ing of marae, lo­cal govern­ment, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and com­mer­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The TANK project aimed to fig­ure out ways to man­age the re­gion’s wa­ter­ways.

‘‘We all need to be very clear that this group is about ac­tion – the time for talk­ing is over.’’

Karamu Stream was one of the re­gion’s worst, but with at­ten­tion it could be fixed in a decade.

Lake Wha­tuma, Lake Tu¯tira, Lake Whakaki, Ahuriri Es­tu­ary and the Tuk­i­tuki and Wairoa rivers would all need ‘‘the same fo­cus and at­ten­tion’’ as Karamu Stream.

The Kahutia project would ‘‘do the grunty stuff in the hills’’, but the coun­cil needed help from farm­ers and res­i­dents. ‘‘We want to en­cour­age ev­ery­one in Hawke’s Bay to get in­volved and com­mit to plant at least five trees a year.’’

AN­DRE CHUMKO/STUFF

Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil chair­man Rex Gra­ham wants lo­cals to plant at least five trees an­nu­ally as part of a push to make the re­gion the first car­bon-neu­tral area in New Zealand.

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