From Vernonica Harrod
A range of historic firsts have been taking place at Horowhenua Lake Domain Board meetings in Levin since new board chair Jenny Rowan took up the role earlier this year.
A former mayor of Kapiti Coast District Council Ms Rowan, who represents the Board on behalf of the Director General of the Department of Conservation, delivered an historic first when she made a verbal submission in response to Horowhenua District Council’s first 20 year Long Term Plan consultation document last week.
She said the Board, “has responsibilities for the Domain land, buildings, and the surface waters of the lake for recreational purposes, so has an interest in what water (mostly storm water) enters the lake.
She said Lake Horowhenua is, “on private land – it should not be seen in this century to be the local sewer for everyone else’s rubbish and pollutants. The responsibility surely lies with other private land owners to be managing their own properties in a way that protects the lake from their pollutants such as nitrates, heavy metals and sediment run off. We would expect the HDC to invest in educating industry and agricultural operators better on their obligations around runoff and farm management.”
Then there was another first when the Board chair stated an intention, “to have meetings at a venue he [Philip Taueki] can attend” as there is a trespass notice preventing Mr Taueki from entering the council building in Levin. This means he cannot attend Board meetings. Mr Taueki is the great great grandson of paramount chief Taueki who signed the Treaty of Waitangi, and he is an owner of Lake Horowhenua.
Ms Rowan also said the fact that water to Mr Taueki’s residence at Lake Horowhenua has been turned off raised questions about the “human rights and morality of the decision.” In a verbal submission to the Board former councillor Anne Hunt said Mr Taueki has lived in a residence with no water supply for over 500 days. Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton has refused to turn the water back on.
Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen said he found the decision to turn the water off, “a breach of human rights…concerned about HDC taking the action it has and what it might lead to further down the track.”
Ms Rowan reiterated, “We need to have more conversations with Phillip. I am very committed to sorting this out. I find it unacceptable. He is down there. The Toby for the water is on Domain Board land. Need to think about this team,” she said to the other board members seated around the table. “We have a responsibility to turn that water on.”