New committee will work with communities towards improving the health of waterways and harbour
A new whaitua committee - Whaitua te Whanganui-a-Tara - has been established by Greater Wellington Regional Council to work with communities in the Hutt Valley and Wellington to develop proposals to improve fresh and marine water quality throughout its valley and harbour catchments.
The Committee combines the expertise of local and regional councillors, iwi and community members drawn from throughout the Hutt and Wainuiomata valleys, the suburbs of Wellington Harbour and the south coast and the Makara and Ohariu stream catchments.
It will spend the next two years analysing environmental, mana whenua, economic, and technical information alongside community knowledge to develop a Whaitua Implementation Programme, or WIP.
The WIP will contain a series of recommendations on how to implement the Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, which sets out bottom lines on maintaining and improving the quality of our fresh water bodies. Both regulatory changes for inclusion in the Regional Council’s Natural Resources Plan and non-regulatory activities such as land use policies, education programmes and priorities for investment will be included.
Whaitua te Whanganui-a-Tara will work extensively with people, community groups and iwi from throughout its catchments to identify their understanding, beliefs and values in relation to freshwater and want they want from it.
“The task of Committee members is to understand the issues that face the sustainability and quality of freshwater and marine environments in our region. I believe, after a thorough appointment process, we’ve found the right mix of people to drive the Committee forward,” says Greater Wellington Chair Chris Laidlaw.
“This is a committee brimming with talent, expertise and experience. I know they can’t wait to get on with the job, and I congratulate them for taking on what is a vitally important public task – quality freshwater is the wellspring of everything and ensuring it can be sustainably delivered to the community is a vital task.”
The first meeting of the committee will take place on 8 February 2018.