Lake protection key to plan

Lake protection key to plan

Rotorua Daily Post, Thursday Sep 17, 2015

People wanting to learn more about draft nutrient rules for the Rotorua catchment, or have their say, can head to a drop-in session with Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff this afternoon.

The regional council’s draft Lake Rotorua nutrient rules aim to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the lake.

The sessions follow the issuing of an amended version of the draft rules and today’s session will provide further information and clarification around the latest draft rules, address specific concerns in relation to individual properties, provide provisional Nitrogen Discharge Allowances (NDAs) and explain how the NDAs were calculated, and provide a forum for the airing of changes landowners would like to see in relation to the rules.

The process has been a controversial one, with a lobby group Protect Rotorua bringing on board one of New Zealand’s most high-profile lawyers, Mai Chen, to help landowners fight proposed rules.

Protect Rotorua’s Sharon Love said the community needed to be aware of the rules.

She believed there was a lot that was unfair about the draft rules.

“Protect Rotorua will continue to use Ms Chen to make sure we get a say and the community need to understand Protect Rotorua represent all sections of farming, including dairy, dry stock, small blocks and a growing group of concerned ratepayers.”

She said the group wanted to make sure the rules were fair, would protect the lake, and not destroy the rural economy or create massive rates rises.

Regional council chairman Doug Leader said the council was committed to listening and continuing to talk to landowners around their concerns to find a way forward.

A feedback form is available at and a direct local phone line, (07) 921 3377, has been set up so land owners can contact staff for technical information tailored to their circumstances.

Council staff would also visit landowners at their properties on request, he said.

“During the past year we have consulted widely with Rotorua communities as part of our joint programme with the Rotorua Lakes Council and the Te Arawa Lakes Trust. It is clear that cleaning up the lakes is a high priority for the region, but we appreciate that there are some people who will be affected by the programme and we are continuing to have regular discussions with them.

“We have made good progress with identifying the key issues for these groups and have amended our draft rules accordingly.”

Once all the input has been collated, the rules will be publicly notified, followed by the formal submission phase, which will involve potential for additional research and submissions.

Today’s drop-in session is from 2pm-7pm at the regional council office in Arawa St.