Media Release – 3 March 2017


Authority puts support behind Healthy Rivers

The Waikato River Authority has formally submitted its support of the region’s Healthy Rivers Plan but is cautioning the plan has probably not gone far enough in relation to the restoration of lakes and implementation of farm environment plans.
Submissions on Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1 close at 5pm this coming Wednesday (8 March).
The Waikato River Authority is the guardian for the Vision and Strategy, the document with the highest legal standing for policy and environmental direction setting in the Waikato River and Waipa River catchments. The Healthy Rivers Plan is required to give effect to the Vision and Strategy for a cleaner Waikato River.
In lodging the submission, the Waikato River Authority co-chairs Hon John Luxton and Tukoroirangi Morgan say overall the Authority is supportive of the pace and direction proposed within the plan.
“However, we have also signalled we believe there are areas where greater effect can be given to the Vision and Strategy, notably around implementation and monitoring of proposed farm environment plans and greater protection for the shallow lakes of the region,” says Mr Luxton.
Additionally, with a legal challenge to the Healthy Rivers Plan having recently been instigated by Horticulture New Zealand, the Authority has been granted ‘party to proceedings’ status. Horticulture New Zealand wants a judicial review that seeks to unwind the notification of the Healthy Rivers Plan, something the Waikato River Authority does not support.
Mr Morgan says the Authority intends to uphold the mana and status of the Vision and Strategy.
“The Authority does not support a lengthy extension of the submission period sought by Horticulture New Zealand and others. We believe this will significantly reduce the time available to all parties to work collaboratively, ahead of the Healthy Rivers Plan hearings process, to resolve issues,” says Mr Morgan.