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18 Regional Council Accomplishments

Tom Belford03 October 2019

I first presented this list of accomplishments of our current council at a public campaign forum. Here is a video of that presentation (about 14 min for the hard core viewer).

And here is the campaign video ad version (about 1 min).

Back to our core mission

With a working majority of councillors on the same page, our current Council put the environment first, while enabling sustainable economic opportunities into the future. We …

  1. Stopped Regional Council support for the Ruataniwha dam.
  2. Future-proofed our Port to serve our expanding export economy, at NO ratepayer cost, while protecting local control, raising an additional $108m to support environmental objectives, plus adding $120m to our balance sheet at the same time.
  3. Stopped over-allocation of HB’s precious water, capping takes from the Heretaunga aquifer at the present level, while winning $30m in Gov’t support to develop environmentally sound water storage options.
  4. Began a $30m programme to clean-up our waterways by riparian planting, stock exclusion & erosion control, topped off with $5.4m Gov’t grant.
  5. Required over 1,000 Farm Environmental Plans to manage nutrient pollution in the Tukituki catchment. Farm plans like these will be required throughout HB in just a few years.
  6. Launched a Biodiversity Trust, seeded with $600k, to enhance biodiversity efforts and leverage external funding.
  7. Launched a project to make the entire Mahia peninsula predator free, with $3m in external funding.
  8. Upgraded key reserves like Pakowhai Park and the Waitangi Estuary.
  9. Leveraged nearly $3m from Gov’t to improve environmental ‘hotspots’ like Lake Tutira, Whakaki Lake & Ahuriri Estuary.
  10. Secured $5m from Gov’t to help re-open the Napier-Wairoa rail line.
  11. Secured $1.1m to begin in January sophisticated 3D mapping of Heretaunga & Ruataniwha aquifers, giving much better scientific precision to our water planning.
    [In case you’re counting, this brings the total Govt $$ brought into HB to about $56m in our current term.]
  12. Began first-ever underwater surveying of the Hawke Bay marine environment.
  13. Established a Future Farming Trust to demonstrate that farming in HB can and must be profitable and environmentally-sustainable at the same time.
  14. Expanded our Sustainable Homes programme to include loan support for residential water storage, modern septic systems and solar power.
  15. Adopted a new 20-year Regional Pest Management Strategy, adding pests like feral cats and goats to the scheme.
  16. Required public notification (unlike previous councils) for any new water bottling consents (since then, none have been submitted).
  17. Initiated a plan change to bar oil & gas development in water-sensitive areas of HB.
  18. Declared a ‘climate emergency’ and committed our region to being carbon neutral by 2040, backed by initial actions to reduce HBRC’s own carbon footprint & address coastal hazards.

Tom Belford03 October 2019

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