A carbon neutral Hawke’s Bay?
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 dev- eloping 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 project 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. The council’s performance indicator would be clean water running through parks and wetlands.
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 – including planting trees.
‘‘We want to encourage everyone in Hawke’s Bay to get involved and commit to plant at least five trees a year.’’
‘‘We want to encourage everyone in Hawke's Bay to get involved and commit to plant at least five trees a year.’’
Rex Graham 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.