The Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He RautakiWhakapaipai project is working with stakeholders to develop changes to the Waikato Regional Plan, to help restore and protect the health of the Waikato and Waipa rivers, which are key to a vibrant regional economy.
Once developed, the plan change will help, over time, to reduce sediment, bacteria and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) entering water bodies (including groundwater) in the Waikato and Waipa River catchments, an area of 1.1 million hectares. Waikato and Waipa River iwi and Waikato Regional Council are partners on this project, as set out in settlement and comanagement legislation for the Waikato and Waipa rivers.
More than 300 people turned out for workshops in recent weeks on how to better restore and protect the Waikato and Waipa rivers. Some 235 stakeholders attended a workshop at the Mystery Creek Events Centre, while 55 and 36 people respectively attended public events in Tokoroa and Tuakau.
“The turnout at the stakeholder workshop and two subsequent public workshops held so far indicate clearly the community’s interest in the Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai process,” said Bill Wasley, the independent chair of a Collaborative Stakeholder Group (CSG) designing a recommended regional plan change to protect the rivers. The plan change process is being managed by Waikato Regional Council and river iwi. Mr Wasley also said that restoring and protecting the rivers was going to take time. For those unable to make it to a workshop, your thoughts can still be provided in an online survey at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/healthyrivers. The survey closes on Friday 13 November.