The TANK Project is looking at rules for the best way to manage the land and waterways of the Tūtaekurī, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū catchments.
When in place, the TANK Plan will give clear direction to consent holders and other water users regarding the freshwater resource on the greater Heretaunga Plains. It's a challenging balancing act between water use and protection. The rivers and waterways have to come first, but water users should also be able to rely on safe, secure water when they need it. Water is valued by everyone within the community, and wide community and input has been sought in developing the draft, which will be open to consultation.
The Plan Change seeks to deliver sustainable outcomes through a management framework that contributes to the region's economic growth and environmental integrity, while providing for the values identified by the community.
The TANK project began in 2012 when the Regional Council formed a stakeholder group to represent the wider community to look at the best way to manage the waterways of the Tūtaekurī, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamū catchments. The project quickly became known as TANK.
In 2017, new groundwater science from the Regional Council was presented to the TANK Group and indicated that the waterways and aquifer below the Heretaunga Plains are highly inter-connected. There had been a misconception that the groundwater was a bottomless water resource, so this was a significant consideration for the Group.
The collaborative TANK Group, tasked with assisting in the development of objectives, policies and rules for the Plan Change, held its last meeting on 26 July 2018.
The Draft TANK Plan Version 7 was then presented to the Regional Planning Committee for the first time on 14 August 2018. The details of the draft Plan - ‘workshopped’ by RPC members over the following months - has lead us to a final draft for public consultation and formal submission.
There have been a handful of matters where the TANK Group was unable to reach consensus, requiring further review and consideration by the RPC. These items of non-consensus are clearly highlighted, and the next iteration of the draft Plan will clearly show the Regional Council’s position on these matters.
Comments have been received on V8 of the draft TANK plan from the iwi authorities, district and city councils, HortNZ and Doc. Staff summarised this feedback and presented this to the Regional Planning Committee on the 15 May, along with staff recommendations and amendments to the Plan (V9). The RPC decided to defer making decisions on the draft TANK Plan until the next RPC meeting schedule for the 3rd July. They have also requested a workshop with staff prior to their next meeting.
Affected iwi authorities, territorial authorities and the Minister for the Environment have been contacted (31 January) seeking their feedback and comments on the draft TANK Plan Change Version 8. To ensure adequate time is provided to consider the Plan content and prepare a response, we have requested that feedback is submitted by 5pm 29 March 2019. Provide feedback here.
To make sure the consultees are appropriately informed, we have also provided them with a copy of the latest version of the draft Implementation Plan and a copy of this brochure.
Once comments are received, staff will evaluate these and provide a summary of these back to the Regional Planning Committee. It will then be determined whether the Plan needs to be amended or refined in any way, prior to it being publicly notified for consultation.
What is the Implementation Plan?
The Implementation Plan outlines the programme of work which is required not only from the Regional Council, but also seeks commitment from stakeholders, industry, iwi and local councils. The TANK collaborative process improved understanding of the wider community responsibility towards managing the environment, in ways to protect the long term health of the water resource. The Implementation Plan identified a number of tasks which, when actioned, will achieve the freshwater objectives of the TANK Plan. Although the Implementation Plan is not a statutory document, members of the TANK Group have indicated a long term commitment to the delivery of the actions proposed, and will take part in an annual review of the Implementation Plan progress and success.
Council agreed on 19 December to adopt the Draft TANK Plan Change (version 8) for targeted consultation early 2019.
This will include consulting with the affected territorial local authorities, Government Ministers and iwi authorities on the draft TANK Plan Change. There is also an opportunity for other stakeholders and people to provide feedback on this version of the Plan. This is programmed to start late January 2019. The Regional Council agreed to give six weeks for this consultation to occur to allow sufficient time for the parties to respond.The purpose of this consultation is to obtain the views and feedback from those parties on the content of the plan.
Once this feedback has been received, staff will summarise and evaluate the comments and report back to the Regional Planning Committee. The Regional Planning Committee will make recommendations to the Regional Council for any changes that might be necessary following consideration of the feedback.
It is envisaged that the TANK Plan Change will be notified mid-2019 – this will be the opportunity for anyone to make a formal submission on the Plan.
The Council is currently preparing assessment reports on the feedback received from iwi organisations, local councils and stakeholders. The Regional Planning Committee will consider the feedback and staff reports and will make decisions about any amendments necessary as a result of that feedback. It is currently expected that the Regional Planning Committee will make a decision about notification of the Proposed Plan Change 9 for the TANK catchments in August.
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