I love the Waikato region: its beautiful natural environment, its vibrant city and towns, and the excellent services and opportunities.
Looking after the health of our environment is especially important and, like me, the people of the Waikato have an amazing passion for it.
It’s not surprising – we have iconic landscapes, rivers, mountains and coastal areas, and a strong desire for healthy water, soil and air.
These all need protecting to meet many of our economic, cultural and recreational needs – water for safe drinking and swimming, soil for agriculture and horticulture, land for housing, geothermal resources for energy generation, and clean air. But our needs and lifestyles place a heavy demand on these resources through pollution and waste from land use, industry and vehicle use.
There are many big and varied issues which need to be addressed – from climate change, ecological integrity and indigenous biodiversity to management of the built environment, natural hazards and geothermal resources.
That’s where Waikato’s Regional Policy Statement (RPS) has a major role to play so our region can be enjoyed by future generations.
It’s a planning tool that will help the regional, city and district councils decide what needs to be done to keep and enhance the environmental conditions that drive our economy and provide us with the quality of life our region currently enjoys.
Importantly, it focuses councils on ensuring the way we use our natural resources doesn’t tip the balance and compromise the ability of future generations to provide for their own needs.
It’s been really important to us to hear the thoughts of the people in our region and the community has had a big influence on the RPS. We released the proposed Regional Policy Statement for public comment in 2010. Two years later, following four months of submissions and deliberations on the evidence, a hearings committee released more than 10,000 separate decisions.
A healthy environment is critical to our region’s economy and ensuring everyone benefits from the quality of life most of us enjoy now.
We all have a part to play, because it’s only by working together that we can ensure our region’s natural resources are protected for a better and brighter future.