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Published: 2003-09-08 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s Clean Streams Project has won the NZ Post Management Excellence Supreme Award from the Society of Local Government Managers.

A total of 34 entries were received for the awards, which were announced at the annual SOLGM conference in Palmerston North on Sunday. The Clean Streams Project also won the society’s award for process management.

The awards were judged by Victoria University Chancellor Rosemary Barrington, NZ Institute of Management Chief Executive David Chapman, NZ Post Government Business General Manager Maarten Wevers, Timaru Mayor Wynne Raymond and Group Manager of Management Services, MWH consulting group Brian Sharplin.

Environment Waikato is putting $10 million over 10 years into fencing and planting waterways in the Region to improve water quality. So far 116 applications have been completed and approved, covering over 230km of fencing, exceeding the year’s targets.

The Project intends to protect 4,000 km of water body margins with fencing and planting to exclude stock, and have 2,000 farmers participating. It includes key agricultural industry partners, business and other agencies actively promoting protection of water bodies and supporting farmer initiatives.

The Council provides up to 35 percent of the costs of stream protection and farmers could apply from June last year. It also provides information packages to help farmers, including the benefits to both farmers and the environment, and techniques that work best in various situations.

The Judging Panel said the project was transferable and could be relatively easily implemented in other parts of the country. They were impressed by its future focus through environmental sustainability, which complemented the principles of community well-being in the Local Government Act 2002.

The project had a strong link to the Council’s strategic direction and had been well executed, particularly the production of the Clean Streams Guide. The Council could take real pride in the higher than expected positive results achieved to date. The Panel said Environment Waikato had demonstrated real industry leadership in the very successful development and implementation of this project.

Environment Waikato Chairman Neil Clarke said the aim of the Project was to change attitudes to improving and maintaining water quality.

“Using education and incentives to change attitudes, and more importantly behaviours, is over time predicted to shift actual practices and what is seen as ‘normal’, not just by the farming sector but also by the public. We expect that this will result in positive environmental outcomes throughout the Region.”

Environment Waikato also won both the Process Management and Supreme Award in 1999 for its management of the major floods of 1998.