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Facing our Future is a regional step-change

Hawke's Bay Regional Council is now in the five week consultation period for its ten year plan, called Facing our Future 2018-28.

The Regional Council’s proposals include a strengthened environmental focus, with emphasis on land, water and biodiversity. The plan includes up-scaling and accelerating work in land and water management, with stronger regulation and more incentives for change. It also includes a sustainable homes programme, consolidating Civil Defence funding and a focus on community partnerships to achieve change.

Chair Rex Graham calls for community support to help the Regional Council to accelerate positive environmental change for Hawke’s Bay.

“I think we all want to see positive changes across our region over the next ten years. To turn around the region’s environment, we need to do more than simply treading water. We have been too laid-back for too long about these problems. Our reputation as a premium food-producing region and tourism destination - not to mention being a great place to live - is at risk,” says Mr Graham.

Chief Executive James Palmer summarises that the plan is both ambitious and appropriate.

“Our monitoring of the state of Hawke’s Bay’s environment underscores the necessity and urgency of the step-change investment we’re proposing, particularly when you compare the soil lost from our land and the quality of our waterways to the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The issues we face are serious and urgent and we have no time to lose.”

The Council has provided a plan that includes landscape-scale tree planting to retain soil, wetland restoration, cleaner water, a healthier marine environment and better biodiversity.

The plan proposes to increase the average rate by around $1 a week more per property in the coming year, with a 13.8% increase to focus on environmental priorities, plus 5.2% dedicated to the regional Civil Defence rate. A mail-out to individual ratepayers is due to arrive in letterboxes at the end of March, and public meetings across the region will take place in April.

Property owners can compare the proposed change to their rates at hbrc.govt.nz, along with all of the Council’s supporting information, also available at libraries and Regional Council offices.

The Regional Council encourages anyone to submit using its online form and welcomes submissions, including paper forms, until Monday 23 April 2018.

20 March 2018

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