This week in council we are adopting the long term plan, setting rates, appointing some commissioners, receiving LGNZ correspondence amongst other things.

The paper I wanted to focus on this week is in relation to water security and river quality.

Water is the future, which is why I am for further protection of the Waingake Water Supply Pipeline. The pipeline sits in the Pamoa forestry block, and this council-owned forestry block is due to be harvested soon.

While most of the land around the pipeline is not harvested the paper is asking council to signal our intention to retire specific areas in proximity to the pipeline in order to do two things: 1) enhance the long term security of the pipeline and supply of drinking water to the Gisborne City and 2) to reduce damage to existing native vegetation and protect the quality of water catchments draining from forest areas, including Te Ārai River. So in a practical sense, it’s to control erosion, water quality and the pipeline.

I am for more protection, because council needs to be leading by example. This forestry block is council owned land and we need to be holding ourselves to the highest standard when it comes to harvesting and being responsible stewards of our own resources.

The East Coast in general has massive land stability issues, couple this with our increasingly frequent heavier rainfalls and we have dire situations happen, as was seen recently. Under the previous government we actually asked for this to be addressed in the National Policy Statement. The standards we received fell short of where I would’ve liked to have seen them however, inside our own block, I think it’s a good idea for us to hold ourselves to these higher standards we asked for.

We need to ensure our land stability issues in Pamoa are addressed. We can address those by reverting strategic areas back to indigenous vegetation, or actively planting high stability risk areas with native plants to better control the land. If we control the land better then we can provide better slash and run off control, therefore making a better effort to ensure the quality of Te Arai is maintained. Our obligation to Te Arai is of utmost importance as stewards and under our statutory treaty obligation to Rongowhakaata.

We definitely want to secure the pipeline, that’s important too, but there are a whole host of other really important reasons for us to further protect the Waingake Water Supply Pipeline.

I’d like to wish our high school kapa haka teams from Tūranganui a Kiwa the best of luck for the National Secondary Schools’ Kapa Haka Competition next week in Papaioea, Palmerston North. I will be there next Thursday to see Te Roopu Rangatahi o Ritana, Te Kapa Hakuwai o Horouta Wānanga and Tūranga Wahine Tūranga Tāne battle it out on stage.

Everyday you make us proud rangatahi mā.

As always, privileged to serve you Te Tairāwhiti.

(This article was linked by RNZ (Radio New Zealand). New Zealand’s independent public service multimedia organisation. A Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. Link to the article can be found here.)