April notification date set for variation to Healthy Rivers plan change
Waikato regional councillors have agreed the date for public submissions on a variation to the ground-breaking plan to improve the health of the Waikato and Waipā rivers.
The variation to Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Plan Change 1 reinstates the area in the north-east of the Waikato River catchment that was withdrawn in November 2016 to enable full consultation with Pare Hauraki as an impacted iwi.
The variation includes some amendments arising from consultation with Pare Hauraki, and also proposes extensions of 20 months to some dates to enable landowners more time due to the delay. The dates are now:
- Registration: 1 May 2020 – 30 November 2020
- Nitrogen Reference Point: 1 May 2020 – 30 November 2020
- Farm Environment Plans:
- Priority 1 area: 1 March 2022
- Priority 2 area: 1 March 2025
- Priority 3 area: Date remains unchanged (1 July 2026).
During the special meeting of the council in Hamilton, a deputation from Pare Hauraki said they had worked constructively and had recommended some “core changes”, not all of which were included in the variation.
The variation to Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Plan Change 1 was passed by a vote of 8 – 2, with one councillor abstaining from the vote. It will be notified on Tuesday 10 April and the public will have until Wednesday 23 May to make a submission.
“This is an important step in the process of progressing Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora,” said council chair, Alan Livingston. “We have taken the time to consult with Pare Hauraki, and the outputs have been carefully considered throughout our year-long process. I’d like to acknowledge their work which has brought us to this milestone.
“At the same time this pause in the plan change process has enabled some really constructive work to be done with affected stakeholders in considering the workability of the plan,” Mr Livingston said.
The council received more than 1000 submissions to the plan change when it was notified in 2016, and these remain valid. “But if there are changes specific to the variation that individuals and groups don’t agree with then we’d encourage them to tell us by way of a submission,” he said.
The council made its decision on Tuesday (27 March) following a recommendation from the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora Joint Committee comprising representatives of iwi Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Raukawa, Maniapoto and Waikato Tainui.
Further information on the variation will be available from Tuesday 10 April at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/healthyrivers.