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Waikato Regional Council's role in co-management

Photo of Waikato-Tainui waka taua on the Waikato River
Waikato-Tainui waka taua have been a regular sight on the Waikato River for centuries, although today they are mainly used for ceremonial purposes.
Photo of kayakers on the Waikato River
Kayaks are also a regular feature of recreational activities on the Waikato River.

Under the three co-management acts passed so far, Waikato Regional Council has specific responsibilities and opportunities.

The opportunities include the fact that a feature of the co-managenment regime is the Waikato River Authority, made up 50/50 of Crown  and iwi appointees, which is the trustee for a body which will administer a $210 million clean up fund for the river.

The council is able to apply to the authority for a share of the clean-up funds and has already made one successful application for a koi carp eradication project.

Under its responsibilities, the council has incorporated the authority's vision and the strategy for the restoration of the river into the council's Regional Policy Statement.

The council accepts its legislated responsibility to work closely with all river iwi on the shared goal of a clean and healthy Waikato River provided for in the legislation.

How does co-management work?

Waikato River Authority

Representatives of various iwi  (5) and Crown appointees (5) sit on the Waikato River Authority.

Crown appointees include Waikato Regional Council's chairman and a person nominated collectively by local Waikato councils.

Authority decisions should be made by consensus, but there are mechanisms in the legislation to elevate matters to the Minister of the Environment where agreement cannot be reached.

The authority decides on any changes to the vision and strategy for the Waikato River which must be part of the council's Regional Policy Statement. As mentioned, it is also the trustee for the body which allocates funds for river clean-up projects.

The authority will appoint, from its own register of approved commissioners, a 50 per cent membership of regional council hearing committees considering river-related resource consent hearings.

Read the partnership agreement between Waikato River Authority and Waikato Regional Council. 

Find out more on the Waikato River Authority website.

The Waikato River Authority is also responsible for the Waikato River Clean-Up Trust. Click here for more information on the trust and funding.

Waikato River Authority meetings

The authority started operating in December 2010. The meetings are generally open to the public and it is planned meetings will be held the second Thursday of every month. As with other public bodies, the authority will consider whether any of  its meetings or parts of meetings shall be public excluded.

Specific details on council involvement in co-management

1. Vision and strategy

The authority's vision and strategy for the river has already become part of the council's Waikato Regional Policy Statement.

The first review of the vision and strategy by the authority has been carried out. The current vision and strategy was affirmed and is due for review in 2015.

2. Joint Management Agreements (JMA)

Iwi have been developing Joint Management Agreements (JMAs) with the regional council. These  will include agreed processes for input into resource consents, monitoring, enforcement and policy and planning matters to do with the river. JMAs have been signed with Raukawa, Te Arawa river iwi, Ngati Maniapoto and Waikato-Tainui.

The Waikato-Tainui legislation means their JMA with the council covers customary activities such as the use of the river for tangihanga.

What changed responsibilities does this mean for Waikato Regional Council?

Besides incorporating the vision and strategy into the Regional Policy Statement, the council must also give effect to it through its Waikato Regional Plan.

Waikato Regional Council's role will also include reporting to the Waikato River Authority and providing technical support to the council’s chair in his new role as a member of authority.