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Published: 2001-05-29 00:00:00

Labour MP Martin Gallagher has called for a closer relationship between national and local government to achieve environmental outcomes in his submission to Environment Waikato’s draft Annual and Strategic Plan yesterday.

Mr Gallagher said that, since the population of the Auckland and Waikato area was going to increase, Environment Waikato should take a leadership role in projecting the recreational needs of its future population and consider how reserves and walkways could be provided. He also congratulated the Regional Council on its education material and encouraged it to raise its profile and promote the wealth of expertise and knowledge amongst its staff to the community.

He complemented the Council on the Strategic Plan’s accessibility and readability. Relations between central and local government could be enhanced by more structured and formal meetings with Waikato MPs.

Whaingaroa Environment said the Plan was well put together, succinct and easy to read and understand. It supported most of the Plan’s provisions and appreciated the support from Environment Waikato for its activities, noting the importance of monitoring and statistical information to support local work.

Members of the Northern Waikato Federation of Country Women’s Institutes objected other regions’ waste being imported into the Waikato for disposal by landfill operators. Representative Mrs P Wiggins said her organisation felt as if Auckland was throwing their rubbish into the Waikato’s backyard.

“Our Region must not suffer the adverse effects, long term and cumulative adverse effects from other regions’ waste.”

The group also opposed landfills in environmentally sensitive areas and wanted Environment Waikato to do more to promote recycling. Mrs Wiggins said the group was concerned about leachate from the Huntly landfill and asked that the effects of closed and present landfills in the Region be remedied.

Thames Coromandel District Council urged the Council to consider prioritising work to lessen the projected general rate increase and spread the increases over a longer time frame, as ratepayers were already dealing with rate increases from their local authority. It supported in principle the programme for riparian management using income from the Investment Fund, and more efforts on waste minimisation.

It also expressed concern at the reduction of spending on policy areas and sought a close working relationship with Environment Waikato, especially on coastal matters.

Waikato District Council expressed concern that too much was being spent on policy development and resource information gathering. It asked for greater emphasis on developing and implementing straightforward and brief action plans dealing with specific issues.

It expressed provisional support for Project Watershed, subject to cost and fund allocation. The District Council was also concerned about the proposed increase in the Biosecurity Rate, but said Environment Waikato was doing an excellent job in keeping ahead of bovine Tb rates. Increases should be spread over a longer period, it said.

The hearings on the draft Plan continue throughout this week.