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Published: 2006-02-15 00:00:00

The newly-appointed trustees of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust are undertaking a two-day fact-finding tour to study first-hand the issues impacting on the long-term health of the lake.

The six trustees will be visiting the Lake Taupo area this Wednesday and Thursday (15-16 February), where they will receive detailed scientific briefings on the nitrogen pollution issues facing the lake, and the policy tools they have available to remedy the situation.

The fact-finding tour will include viewing Lake Taupo by boat. Later the trustees will travel by road to Kinloch, the western bays, and the south Taupo wetland area at Tokaanu before returning to Taupo.

During the visit, the trustees will be briefed on issues such as nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, the impacts of subdivision and development, strategies for crop diversification, sewage treatment, catchment control schemes and issues with lake weed.

The Lake Taupo Protection Trust is charged with enhancing the long-term health of Lake Taupo primarily by reducing nitrogen pollution, and the trustees are aiming to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in nitrogen entering the lake from both rural and urban sources.

To achieve its goal of protecting the lake, the trust will implement a programme using an $81.5 million joint fund, which will be raised over a 15 year period. This fund will be used to encourage and assist land use change, and to purchase land in the Lake Taupo catchment, as well as other initiatives to assist landowners to reduce the nitrogen impact of their activities on the lake.

The $81.5 million fund arises from the contributions by Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council and central government, who are all involved in the project to enhance the long-term health of Lake Taupo. A joint committee of these three agencies, along with the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board, will oversee the activities of the trust.

The trust’s work in reducing nitrogen pollution will be assisted by a comprehensive package of methods from the agencies including changes to rules on land use, and improvements to sewerage reticulation in urban areas.

The trustees (listed in alphabetical order) are:

Gerald Frazer Fitzgerald - (Wellington)
Lawyer/Partner with Kensington Swan
Principal area - Corporate and Securities and Finance

Colin Trevor Horton – (Hamilton)
Agricultural Developments (NZ) Ltd
Registered Agricultural Consultant

John Hura – (Turangi)
Planning Manager - NZ Forest Mangers Ltd
Chairperson of the Taupo-nui-a-tia Management Board

John Thomas Kneebone - (Cambridge)
Former chair of Landcare Research
Former Director of AFFCO
Former president of Federated Farmers
Member of Waitangi Tribunal since 1989

Jeremy Rickman – (Hamilton)
Partner at Beattie Rickman
Chartered Accountant/Arbitrator/Mediator

Susan Yerex – (Turangi)
Founding member of Taupo Lakecare Group
Dry Stock Farmer