A major milestone has been reached on the journey to restore and protect the Waikato and Waipa rivers with the development of a broad policy mix framework for improving the health and well-being of the waterways over the next 80 years.
The Restoring and protecting our water/Te whakapaipai me te tiaki i ō tātou wai report was yesterday formally received by the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora committee, made up of Waikato-Tainui, Maniapoto, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa and Waikato Regional Council representatives.
The report was formulated by the multi-sector Collaborative Stakeholder Group used to work on a Waikato regional plan change under the Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai project.
The legally binding Te Ture Whaimana (Vision and Strategy) for the catchment requires water bodies to be fishable and swimmable along their entire length over time and the project was established to look at measures for achieving this goal.
Also, the Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 requires regional councils to manage water quality by setting objectives, limits and targets for all water bodies.
The CSG will now use the policy mix framework to develop a recommended plan change for the consideration of the committee and the full regional council in June.
Assuming the recommendation is endorsed, public consultation on a plan change will commence soon after, enabling the wider public to have its say (the wider public has already been involved in the development of the policy mix through sector meetings and community workshops, online surveys and other mechanisms).