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Minister to launch Taupo Strategy

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs will launch an Integrated Sustainable Development Strategy for Lake Taupo on the Lake with Ngati Tuwharetoa next week.

The Strategy is a joint project by Environment Waikato and Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board to provide for sustainable development of communities within the Lake Taupo catchment, while protecting the environment. Lake Taupo’s water quality is under threat from increasing amounts of nitrogen flowing into the Lake from surrounding land uses.

Marian Hobbs is spending next Thursday in Taupo in the morning meeting with Environment Waikato and Taupo District Council representatives, as well as farming groups affected by Environment Waikato’s proposed changes to managing the catchment.

In the afternoon she will travel onto the Lake itself with the Paramount Chief and the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board to take a first hand look at the issues and discuss problems and proposed solutions. The project will be launched with the signing of pledges of agreement by the parties involved.

Environment Waikato Policy Programme Manager Blair Dickie said the project was a partnership between central government, local government, iwi and community groups and would influence all environmental, social and economic decisions made by public management agencies, iwi, hapu and individuals into the future.

The strategy involved a 20 year plan and would include providing tools and community access to information, and participation and involvement of iwi and hapu in decision making.
“This is a unique opportunity – the first time a management strategy has been developed jointly by tangata whenua and local government. It goes beyond the idea of integrated catchment management and encompasses the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability.”

Management agencies have worked separately until now, and because the threats to the things the community valued about the Lake were managed by separate agencies, there was confusion over who was responsible.

Mr Dickie said the project could be used as a model to address other water management issues affected by catchment activities. The strategy would be implemented through central and local government management agencies, commercial stakeholders iwi and community actions.

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