Ministers Need to Intervene in Horizon’s Disdain for Public

Published: Mon 19 Sep 2016 10:16 AM
Ministers Need to Intervene in Horizon’s Disdain for Public
Government ministers such as Ministers for Local Government, Environment and Conservation need to step in on the controversial issue of Horizon’s Regional One Plan, says a nation-wide trout anglers’ organisation.
Ken Sims of Manawatu, spokesman for the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, said while Fish and Game NZ had challenged Horizons Regional Councils “irregular” implementation of its One Plan, there was no sign of interest from government.
“If, as it appears, Regional Councils like Horizons are riding roughshod over their legal requirements, surely ministers should be ensuring the public interest is properly met?” he said.
Ken Sims said Sam Lotu-Iiga as Minister for Local Government, along with Maggie Barry for Conservation and Nick Smith for the Environment, seem struck “dumb and mute.” Sadly it appeared the National-led Government have abdicated responsibility on the public’s environment and waterways. The Horizon’s Regional Plan situation was not new.
“It’s a sad commentary on government disinterest, that there are parallel cases such as Forest and Bird having to force the Department of Conservation to carry out its statutory mandate over the management of public lands around Hawkes Bay’s Ruataniwha Dam. Once again non-government organisations are paying to ensure both regional and central Government do their jobs.”
Problems with the way such regional plans have been interpreted and implemented are well documented, and it is appalling that the only way that the public can get councils like Horizons to acknowledge and address this is by legal action. The public’s rivers become the victims.
“It should be noted that while Horizons have already voted not to support clean rivers on the grounds that it would be economically disastrous, Waikato Regional Council, who surely have much more intensive agriculture than Horizons, have just voted the opposite,” he said. “It makes a total mockery of both the requirements of the RMA, and regional representation.”
The cacophony of opposition by the agricultural, sector - and that includes most of Horizons RC - sits in stark contrast to the silence of Government Ministers said Ken Sims.

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