5 July 2001
National Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu tonight voiced her deep disappointment over the Government's
lacklustre response to the Maori Affairs select committee report on the deteriorating state of Northland's Lake Omapere.
"The select committee members, but more importantly the environmental experts brought in and local Northland leaders
will be disappointed with the response.
"We gave the lake our priority because so much work had already been done to try to turn things around. But sadly the
Government failed to action the main proposal of management intervention that would've given the lake a chance.
"To address devastating weed growth, the lake desperately needed both additional grass carp and the removal of excessive
weed by mechanical harvesting. But the Government ignored this recommendation.
"Marian Hobbs and Sandra Lee tell us that the situation is less urgent now because winter has meant the volume of weed
has stabilised, but the Ministers have missed the point. Winter is the time to action the management intervention plan,
not get complacent.
"Ngapuhi leaders I have spoken with today say the window of opportunity to ensure the lake's survival has been lost
because of Government inaction. They predict that the life of Lake Omapere will collapse by January. As a result the
community is set to lose a significant asset.
"The Government had its chance to implement the committee's main proposal that offered the most hope to save the lake.
But sadly the Government's legacy will soon consist of a large stagnant mosquito breeding ground for no Northlander to
enjoy," Mrs te Heuheu said.