Horizons asks Whanganui for input into vision for freshwater’s future

Horizons Regional Council is asking communities in the Whanganui catchment for their vision of the future wellbeing of freshwater in their district via an online survey until 9 July.

Horizons’ manager policy and strategy Charlotte Almond says the upcoming consultation forms part of the council’s wider programme of work to implement central government’s Essential Freshwater package first announced in 2020.
“As part of central government freshwater reforms, we are required to have Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) – key spatial areas for caring for the wellbeing of waterways in our region,” Ms Almond says.
“In the Horizons Region, we have based FMUs around river catchments. The catchments extend from the smallest headwaters to the coast. Land draining into each catchment, additional waterbodies within each, and receiving environments – for example, lakes and wetlands – are also included. 
“Each FMU has to have a vision containing ‘ambitious but reasonable’ goals, which may be difficult to achieve but not impossible.
“In 2022, we engaged on visions for all FMU’s bar Whanganui. The Whanganui FMU was not included in the consultation at that time because we sought to coordinate engagement with the development of the whole of river strategy, Te Heke Ngahuru, which is provided for by Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act 2017.  We are now getting underway with the engagement on visions for the Whanganui FMU. 

“We are engaging directly with iwi and hapū on their visions for the Whanganui FMU.” 
Ms Almond says Horizons has created a draft vision it believes is a starting point to enable feedback.
“We want to know if communities in the Whanganui FMU agree or disagree with anything in the draft vision, and whether anything is missing or needs changing.
“The final vision will help Horizons, working in partnership with tangata whenua and the wider community, protect and enhance our waterways. These waterways are a vital taonga and crucial to our environmental, cultural, social and economic wellbeing.” 
For more information about the Whanganui FMU or Horizons’ freshwater policy and regulation work, and to have your say on the Whanganui FMU vision, visit freshwater.horizons.govt.nz.