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Published: 2005-07-07 00:00:00

Environment Waikato and Taupo District Council will set up a Trust to manage the $81.5 million joint public fund to protect Lake Taupo.

A Council-Controlled charitable trust will be established, with up to eight trustees responsible for identifying efficient ways of managing the fund.

The trust will use the $81.5 million to convert nitrogen-leaching pastoral land into low nitrogen land uses, reducing nitrogen leaching from manageable sources by 20 percent. It will also be used to support rural landowners with research identifying alternative land uses, and provide advice and information.

The funds come from a 45 percent contribution from Central Government, 22 percent from the Taupo District community and 33 percent from the Regional community through a targeted rate. The trust will be accountable to a joint committee, which includes members of the three funding parties – Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council, Central Government, as well as Ngati Tuwharetoa.

The Joint Committee will appoint the board for the trust by October 2005, and will be administered until then by Environment Waikato. The Committee meets in August to begin appointing trustees.

Environment Waikato Chairman Jenni Vernon said the benefits of having a trust included having a common focus for undertaking the project and a transparent mechanism for spending the funds. There would also be independent decision making, with all stakeholders consulted on strategic direction and important decisions.

The trust would also provide a long-term structure to ensure the money was used for the intended purpose.

About two thirds of the submissions the Council received on the proposal supported the idea of forming a trust. Reasons given included the acknowledged importance of the water quality of Lake Taupo, and the importance of providing effective lake management.