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Ōtaki MP Terisa Ngobi announced the big cleanup of Lake Horowhenua in hopes to restore it for future generations.
An agreement was made to buy 142hA of farm land that will be converted into a wetland and primordial vegetation area to improve the water quality levels of the lake.
Advocacy for the lake means that normalcy for life to thrive once again is not too far away in the near eternity.
Ms Ngobi took pride in praising the current Government and her advocacy for the community so change can be made for the lake and bring it back to normality.
“We have put in 11.2m dollars buying the surrounding farm land and renovating that to create wetlands so that we can start to restore this taonga. As soon as I got in, the lake was one of the top three things on my list,” she said.
“I have advocated really strongly with Minister David Parker at every opportunity and quite often and regularly annoyed him about this. I am really proud of this Government and to see that advocacy for our lake was heard and that our Government, aswell as Minister Parker know the significance of this lake and what needs to be done and has invested that money in.”
About 90 percent of wetlands and precious ecosystems have been lost in New Zealand due to neglect from regional/local Government.
Lake Horowhenua is one of the most forgotten and degraded. Those in power have previously not taken the problem serious enough for change.
The wetland will help reduce nitrogen levels in the lake and improve water quality parameters — sediment and phosphorus.
Decisions are still being made about the final design of the wetland complex. It will look to be an essential ecosystem by proving a habitat for a diverse range of endemic flora and fauna.
Critically endangered birds such as the matuku and kōtuku will be able to thrive while the life of freshwater fish types and estuary estuarine species will be reintroduced as part of the more robust plan to populate again.
The project allows iwi/hapū, local Government, land users and the greater community to proactively work together to restore the lake for the future to come.
It collaborates between Muaūpoko, the Lake Horowhenua Trust, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Horizons Regional Council, Horowhenua District Council, dairy farmers, horticulturalists and the wider Lake Horowhenua community.
Up to 45 full time equivalent jobs are expected to be created as a result.
ATTICA Ōtaki Candidate and regenerative farmer Michael Kay gave a stark appearance on the issue to express the long-term implications of the cleanup announcement.
“This is one of the most severely polluted lakes in the southern hemisphere. Even when we get the wetland in place — we have to be conscious of the fact that it is not going to clean up the existing lake.”
“The job of that wetland is to stop the pollutants going into the lake. My initial concern would be that this is being treated like it is a dose and ten million dollars; job done, let’s walk away. It’s fine.”
“There’s already been a considerable amount of money thrown at the lake itself, and I think we have got to learn from the first process that this needs to be a fully inclusive and diverse robust discussion and planning which does not involve consultants at all.”
He’d spoken at the Horizons and Horowhenua District Councils’ long-term meetings and was happy that there had been a good acceptance by Councillors following recommendations to cap the amount of money consultants could draw from a project such as this one.
“For this project to work, it is going to take the whole of the community working together, and I am very concerned that there is no plan yet or no talk of that,” he said.
“I am hoping that Terisa can do something about getting us all together and making sure that this is a successful project, and that is the only way it will be successful.”
Image/Video: CC/ Sam Hudson [Wgtn]
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