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Freshwater Plan appeals being assessed

11 Oct 2017

Freshwater Plan appeals being assessed

Staff are assessing 9 appeals to the Gisborne Regional Freshwater Plan that were received following the adoption of the Hearing’s Panel decisions on 19 August.

Transformation and relationships director Keita Kohere says Council are in the process of assessing appeals to see how they relate to one another and what implications they have for the Plan and for freshwater management across Gisborne.

“Many of the appeal points focus on local issues which is a great reflection of the value of collaboration and the commitment that every stakeholder brought to the table.”

“We’re pleased with the process so far and we’ll seek to resolve as many of the issues as possible through mediation with each of the appellants.

“Our intention is to minimise costs through pre-hearing mediation. We’ll aim to facilitate as much of the mediation process as possible, with legal guidance sought where required. Only when agreements can’t be reached will appeals be referred to the Environment Court.”

In response to the article in the Gisborne Herald yesterday on an implementation review conducted by Ministry for the Environment. Ms Kohere says balancing contrasting and competing demands for freshwater across the region has and continues to be a great challenge for Council, as it is across the rest of the country.

“This includes resourcing freshwater monitoring, research and planning processes, working within a constantly evolving national policy setting, and continuing to build strong partnerships within our communities.

“Council have made great progress towards implementing national direction on freshwater management and fully expect to complete its implementation by the required timeframe of 2025.

“We’ve addressed freshwater at the regional scale and have developed the Waipaoa Catchment Plan where the greatest pressures on water quality and quantity are.

“There's more work to do through other catchment plans and through collaboration with iwi in particular."

“Using new forums such as our Joint Management Agreement and the Local Leadership Body will enable Council to not only work closer, but make decisions with iwi Maori."

“We’re committed to this work and look forward to continuing the vital conversation around how we sustainably manage our freshwater now and into the future.”

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