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Published: 2003-07-25 00:00:00

Partners in a strategy to protect Lake Taupo are pleased with Government support for the project.

Environment Waikato Chairman Neil Clarke said he was extremely encouraged by the Government’s agreement in principle to support the partnership, which has been working on finding solutions to the many issues involved in protecting the Lake from excessive nitrogen.

Commenting on the announcement of Government support for the project, Mr Clarke said a partnership approach was important in finding a resolution of the Lake’s problems.

The Government, Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council, Tuwharetoa and other agencies are partners in the project to reduce the amount of nitrogen flowing into the Lake. Water quality is deteriorating because of excess nitrogen flowing from agriculture and urban development.

“It is vital that we find fair and equitable solutions to this difficult issue, sharing the burden for the future of a Lake which is precious to everyone in our Region and New Zealand. We must find solutions that will sustain both the Lake’s health and the viability of the surrounding community.

The Taupo communitywill need plenty of time to work through the issues, he said.

“The benefits of taking action and ensuring a sustainable future for the Taupo catchment far outweigh the costs of doing nothing and facing an irreversible decline in Lake water quality.”

Taupo District Council has also welcomed the Minister’s commitment to protecting Lake Taupo’s water quality. Mayor Clayton Stent said Lake Taupo was recognisedinternationally,nationally and locally as a unique body of water. Mr Stent said the Minister's comments reflected the importance of Lake Taupo to all New Zealanders.

"We all have a part to play to ensure that Lake Taupo remains a national treasure known for its pristine water quality."

The challenge would be to fairly distribute the cost of protecting the Lake between the national, regional and local communities.