The man who first brought the diesel contamination of the Makotuku River to the attention of the authorities is running for Horizons Regional Council.

John Chapman will stand for the council at October's election on an environmental platform.

"We need to focus on our water supply and our rivers locally," he said. "Makotuku in particular is under strain and it needs a lot of attention, a lot of love basically."

A photo-journalist in a past life, Mr Chapman moved to New Zealand from the UK in 2007 and the Waimarino in 2013.


He said he would like to see a review and a strengthening of the One Plan to include measures to deal with the impact of climate change.

"It's not what it was intended to be and it's been watered down significantly," he said.

"It does appear that a lot of farmers have stood for office out of self-interest and to oppose the One Plan, and they've done so successfully."

Mr Chapman said Horizons needed to be planning around the impact of climate change and "the effect that will have on the environment and farming".

"That was never considered in the One Plan," he said.

"There needs to be a discussion between Horizons, farmers and the whole community about how we address those issues. We certainly need to look at the relationship between the farming community and the rest of the community."

He acknowledged doing so may be tough.

"It's not a battle I want to take on," Mr Chapman said. "It's a conversation that I want to have. We're all in it together. It's not us and them."

Following the diesel spill at the Makotuku River, Mr Chapman helped set up the Raetihi Independent Residents and Ratepayers Group and said the process in some way led to him standing for council.

"I think it highlighted the issue of water for me," he said.

"It's a fragile eco-system and it's one that needs to be treasured. It's all National Park and it's all linked to why people come here."

He also wanted to promote what Horizons did and pledged to hold regular meetings for people to discuss issues with him.

"People are just seeing a rates bill and don't understand what Horizons does to justify it."