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Published: 2009-11-20 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has welcomed the Local Government Commission’s proposal to adjust Auckland’s southern boundary to enable better management of the Waikato River and the Firth of Thames.

As part of its proposals on the boundaries and representation arrangements for the new Auckland Council, the commission today confirmed the Mangatawhiri River and Mangatangi Stream catchments would be included in the Waikato region, as well as the part of Franklin District between the Mangatangi Stream catchment and the Firth of Thames.

“This is the preferred outcome for Environment Waikato and the region,” said EW chairman Peter Buckley.

“It will help us manage the health of the whole of the Waikato River in an integrated way, and this will be particularly important as co-management of the river with Waikato iwi evolves,” Cr Buckley said.

The integrated and efficient management of natural and physical resources, including important water bodies such as the Waikato and the Firth of Thames, depended on EW’s continued ability to manage these resources as a whole.

Cr Buckley noted ownership of the regional parks would remain with the Auckland Council, while Watercare Services would still own the dams in the Hunua Ranges.

The regional marine boundary in the Firth of Thames is yet to be determined following consultation.

“The Firth of Thames is predominantly a catchment of the Waikato region so it makes sense to bring as much of the Firth into Waikato as possible to ensure greater coherence in catchment management, navigation safety, erosion management, pollution response, marine farming and so on,” Cr Buckley said.

Cr Buckley said the proposal to move parts of Waiuku and Pukekohe out of Waikato into Auckland were pragmatic and recognised urban communities of interest.

“We are committed to working closely with the commission to ensure a smooth transition for the community and we will be ready to provide an excellent regional government service to those parts of Franklin coming into the Waikato.”

The Local Government Commission’s final determinations will be made by 1 March 2010.