Regional Forum hears from stakeholders
The Regional Forum heard from different industry bodies, suppliers and a recreational group this week as it continued to progress the development of their recommendations to improve Southland’s freshwater.
The Regional Forum is a community based group set up in 2019 to advise Environment Southland’s council and Te Ao Marama board members on how to achieve the communities’ aspirations for freshwater.
Forum Chair Fiona Smith says stakeholders came to the two-day Mataura workshop to present their ideas and proposals for improving our waterways and estuaries.
“We’ve been knee-deep in the latest science from advisors. We’re finding it reassuring that industry groups, companies and other water user groups continue to help us clarify some of our emerging thoughts about ways to achieve the improvements required. And they are sharing with us how different actions might have an impact on their livelihoods and communities,” she says.
Stakeholders presenting at this forum workshop included Fonterra, Deer Industry NZ, Fish & Game NZ, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Beef + Lamb NZ. Others have presented at previous workshops.
“We can lead the country in this area by working together. We are committed to achieving Te Mana o Te Wai - the holistic health and well-being of the land, water and the people and next year we will be presenting advice on the most effective ways to do that.
“These stakeholders we’re engaging with are adding value to our thinking. We are listening to their ideas and solutions, while continuing to be mindful that we need to come up with workable actions, timeframes and methods that will ultimately meet the objectives for healthy waterways and ensure our communities thrive.”
The Regional Forum’s recommendations will go to Environment Southland and Te Ao Mārama mid2022. They will be used to form part of the plan change to the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan, due to be consulted on in 2023. “It’s only by working with stakeholders that we can be confident our recommendations are grounded with the communities of Southland.”
More information about the Regional Forum: waterandland.es.govt.nz/about/regional-forum.
Ends Community aspirations or values have been identified and include maintaining, improving and preventing deterioration of water quality; mahinga kai – food being safe to harvest and eat from waterways and the mauri of the places are intact; water being safe for fishing, drinking and swimming; community wellbeing and connectedness; and water available for irrigation, cultivation and food production, amongst others