ENVIRONMENT Southland (ES) councillors have paved the way forward for plans on freshwater quality goals.
The regional council yesterday approved, in principle, the outputs of the Values and Objectives package of the People, Water and Land Programme Te Mana o te Tangata, te Wai, te Whenua.
These set the direction for the Regional Forum’s work in phase three, that would develop advice for ES and Te Ao Marama Inc Board on how to achieve the draft freshwater objectives for the region.
Councillor Lloyd McCallum called it groundbreaking.
“It brings things together in a way that now we can move forward.”
He said it was an interesting and exciting journey.
The freshwater objectives would be tested, with recommendations given on what could be achieved when.
The package itself was prepared under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management in 2017, and therefore needed to be adapted to the 2020 version.
ES chairman Nicol Horrell said it was a significant milestone.
“It is not going to happen tomorrow but we are putting a road-map together that will take us on that journey.”
Te Ao Marama board chairman Stewart Bull said it was a privilege to see recognition given to Te Tiriti O Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and the rights of tangata whenua in the work.
“It’s been a real pleasure sitting here and seeing changes take place.”
He said it was a challenge because it was hoped to set the template for others to follow.
“It’s about talking to each other, not about each other.’’
Cr Lyndal Ludlow moved the item “with great pride”.
The final decisions and details would be included in a plan change to the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan by the end of 2023.