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Published: 2001-07-05 00:00:00

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs is to visit Taupo next week to discuss lake quality issues with Environment Waikato, the District Council and farming representatives. 

The Minister is meeting with Environment Waikato councillors and senior staff on Wednesday, July 11 before meeting with the District Council and Taupo Lake Care representatives the next day to discuss the problems.

The Regional Council’s monitoring shows the lake is under stress and the water quality is worsening as a result of intensifying urban and rural development. The community wants to maintain the Lake in its current state.

Environment Waikato Resource Information Group Manager Tony Petch said the issue was important for the community and nationally.

“If we act now the district and the nation can benefit in the long term and look forward to a prosperous local economy. Acting earlier means the necessary changes can be made at the least cost.

“Recovery of lake water quality will become virtually impossible if the lake ecosystem is allowed to collapse.”

Environment Waikato proposes changing the Waikato Regional Plan to reduce nutrient discharges into the lake from the catchment, with an information campaign to raise awareness of the issues. A multi party approach is necessary to ensure everyone is involved in the plans, he said.

The situation at Taupo was exceptional because the Lake was a national icon, a tourist mecca and was spiritually significant to all New Zealanders.

During her visit to Taupo, the Minister will also meet with Ngati Tuwharetoa to discuss the integrated sustainable development strategy for the Lake Taupo catchment.