Horizons Council and chairman out of touch with fed up community

  • Taranaki Wellington
  • 24/07/2018
  • Richie Cosgrove

Fish and Game is warning the Horizons Regional Council its residents are fed up with its failure to do its job and follow the agreed plan to clean up polluted rivers and lakes.

Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon is playing down community unhappiness, despite community and environmental groups from the Horizons’ region saying they’ve “had it” with the council and are asking the Environment Minister to step in.

Fish and Game New Zealand’s chief executive Martin Taylor is surprised by Bruce Gordon’s response.

“For the chairman to say on nation-wide radio that he doesn’t see anything is broken and that they haven’t failed in their roles flies in the face of reality,” Mr Taylor says.

“This is a council increasingly out of step with its own community because it refuses to listen to people’s concerns about pollution of their rivers, lakes and streams,” Mr Taylor says.

Fish & Game and the Environmental Defence Society have taken Horizons to court twice for failing to follow its own environmental blueprint, the One Plan and won both times.

Martin Taylor says despite losing every court case, Horizons continues to fight against community and public sentiment.

“Horizons has failed miserably to implement the One Plan – the Environment Court says so, we say so and Horizons ratepayers say so,” he says.

“As a result, under Horizons’ watch, the Manawatu has been classed as one of the Western world’s dirtiest rivers and the New Zealand taxpayer has had to pay more than five million dollars towards cleaning it up.

“Despite this miserable record, Horizons and its chairman continue protecting the economic self interest of a few farmers ahead of the environment to the detriment of tens of thousands of people in the Horizons community.”

Martin Taylor says the growing community anger is an indictment on Horizons.

“It took years of negotiating to get the One Plan in place and Horizons immediately tried to sabotage it.  And they have continued to try and undermine the plan for a decade,” Mr Taylor says.

Martin Taylor says as a result, Horizons is failing its people.

“It is disturbing to see how far out of step the chairman is with his community and he and his councillors need to think of the legacy they are leaving. 

“So far, the only result from their failed strategy is a pile of legal bills and the Manawatu River saddled with the reputation of being one of the Western world’s filthiest,” Mr Taylor says.

“I can see why the Horizons community are fed up – it’s time the chairman started listening to them instead of failing them.”

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