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Published: 2015-07-30 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has confirmed it will support the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust with $300,000 annually for the next three years.

It follows the finalisation of a new accountability reporting framework under which the trust will report regularly to the council.

During recent decision-making on the council’s long-term plan, such a framework was made a condition of the funding.

Councillors approved the framework, which incorporates stronger reporting requirements, at their meeting in Hamilton today. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the trust covering the funding period was subsequently signed by council and trust representatives.

A new funding deed covering the council’s contribution to the project specifies that the $300,000 a year will go to monitoring and maintaining the fence, pest surveillance programmes and rapid responses to pest incursions.

The trust’s specific obligations under the MoU include providing the council with regular activity and expenditure reports, and presenting audited accounts within three months of the end of each financial year.

“Maungatautari and its predator-proof fence is a nationally significant project which has already yielded significant conservation outcomes, providing a safe haven for native species from invasive predators,” said council chairperson Paula Southgate.

“We’re pleased to have confirmed the new reporting framework which enables us to continue supporting this important work while ensuring that ratepayers’ money is applied wisely.”

Cr Southgate said the council looked forward to making further progress at Maungatautari with the trust, and alongside other significant partners including Waipa District Council and the Department of Conservation.

Trust co-chair Tony Wilding said: “I’m very pleased to have this ongoing financial commitment from the regional council.

“The new reporting requirements provide us with a solid platform for our future relationship. With Waipa District Council also committed to future funding, we are now optimistic of finalising funding from the Department of Conservation.”