Select Page

Reading:               495 pages

Hours in meetings: 3 hours

Just the one formal meeting this week.

The reading was mostly in preparation for next week and a catchup on the Environment Court decision for the Sulphur Point extension at the Port of Tauranga.

At the Policy and Strategy Committee meeting we heard presentations from Julian Fitt who wanted $25000 for seed funding to research and develop understanding about bio-diversity in the Bay of Plenty.

He was followed by representatives from federated Farmers who supported delaying a review of the Council’s Fresh Water Regional Plan till at least September next year.

After that we heard from the Environmental Defence Society who were vaguely threatening that if we didn’t develop a policy immediately we will be “vulnerable to challenge”.

The challenge is that the government is about to issue a new National Policy Statement which is likely to reflect the wider community’s approach to Fresh Water which contrasts somewhat with that of the previous government. Until the new one is issued the previous NPS has the legal requirements, but which obviously reflects a viewpoint that was rejected at last year’s general election.

  Federated Farmers would rather wait for a hopefully (currently unknown), more sensible NPS while EDS appears to be trying to tie the Regional Council down to a view rejected by the electorate.

The main point of contention is the top priority of the previous government with something called “Te Mana o Te Wai “which has the following 6 principles.

The 6 principles are:

  1. Mana whakahaere: the power, authority, and obligations of tangata whenua to make decisions that maintain, protect, and sustain the health and well-being of, and their relationship with, freshwater
  2. Kaitiakitanga: the obligations of tangata whenua to preserve, restore, enhance, and sustainably use freshwater for the benefit of present and future generations
  3. Manaakitanga: the process by which tangata whenua show respect, generosity, and care for freshwater and for others
  4. Governance: the responsibility of those with authority for making decisions about freshwater to do so in a way that prioritises the health and well-being of freshwater now and into the future
  5. Stewardship: the obligations of all New Zealanders to manage freshwater in a way that ensures it sustains present and future generations
  6. Care and respect: the responsibility of all New Zealanders to care for freshwater in providing for the health of the nation.,the%20mauri%20of%20the%20wai.

Council decided that we needed to recognise the sovereignty of parliament and their right to signal a direction. It is important to be flexible around what we don’t know.

We had to recognise that a lot of ratepayer resources have gone into getting to where we are now and we don’t want to have to spend literally millions of dollars gathering data and remodelling water use which would be the case if wee delayed too long.

We also agreed that waiting till after our local body elections next year would not be desirable because there is a lot of information to come to terms with and any newly elected counsellors would need to be brought up to speed.

Other items on the agenda were less contentious around a plan change to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, disestablishment of a “leadership group” for something called Bay of Connections (How we manage economic development is a question for the Long Term Plan), and a proposed Plan Change around Geothermal systems.

Remember you can watch the meeting on the Council You Tube Channel.