Catfish, Maori affairs and engagement, water and transport were hot topics at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Long Term Plan hearings in Rotorua today.

Individuals and groups from a number of organisations spoke to the regional councillors in support of their written submissions on the Long Term Plan 2018-2028.

It was the last day in a week of hearings which also took place in Tauranga and Whakatane.

At least four groups spoke about the threat of catfish in the region's lakes.

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As part of consultation the council asked how much should be put into biosecurity projects, including for the management of pests like catfish.

The council's preferred option was to increase resourcing by $500,000 to a total of $4 million in 2018/19.

Don Atkinson, of the Lakes Water Quality Society, said that was not good enough.

"It's [the catfish infestation] the equivalent of the Edgecumbe flood banks breaking. It's a potentially enormous impact. It needs resourcing."

Hilary Prior, from the Lake Rotoiti Community Association, agreed.

"We support the suggestion there be extra funding for this," Prior said.

"This problem is not going to go away and it's increasing daily. We have 10 of our Te Arawa lakes clear, let's keep it that way."

ROTORUA DAILY POST
29 Mar, 2018 1:24pm
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Representatives from Ngai Tamawera and Te Arawa spoke about keeping Maori involved in the decision-making process.

There are 37 iwi, roughly 260 hapu and 224 marae in the Bay of Plenty.

Tu O'Brien spoke on the Ngai Tamawera Hapu submission, asking the council to make sure Maori could contribute to decision-making processes.

He asked the council to consider introducing iwi liaison roles across different departments.

Nicki Douglas, of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, also asked the council to ensure it had a partnership with the trust, in principle, in reality and in action.

She asked that hapu and iwi be involved in any decision making and be involved on a freshwater working group.

There were also multiple calls for a Mamaku bus service.

Shirley Trumper, the chair of the Rotorua Rural Community Board, called for an extension of the public transport network to the rural village with support from the Mamaku Residents' Association.

It was supported by the Rotorua Lakes Council, represented by Mayor Steve Chadwick, councillor Mark Gould, and council officer Jean-Paul Gaston.

The consultation document recommends a change in the funding of the Rotorua bus services to be fully funded through targeted rates: $27 in Rotorua.

Chadwick said that was close to double and the council wanted to see what that would go towards.

"There's a call for Mamaku. If that rate doubles we'd like to see Mamaku come into the mix."

The regional council also manages waterways around the region and works to maintain water quality.

Glen Snelgrove, of the Lake Tarawera Sewerage Steering Committee, continued to push for a reticulated wastewater system at Lake Tarawera.

He asked the council to allocate $2.5 million in the Long Term Plan process to partly cover its cost.

Rotorua Lakes Community Board supported the suggestion and asked the council to subsidise connecting Lake Rotoehu to the East Rotoiti/Rotoma Sewerage Scheme.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will deliberate from May 22 to 24 and the plan must be adopted by June 30.

The plan was open to consultation during February and March and more than 200 submissions were received.

During the consultation period, staff attended more than 20 events and spoke to more than 1000 members of the community about the proposed plan.