25 November 2018
By Mary-Jo Tohill – www.stuff.co.nz
The trust that looks after the Waituna catchment and lagoon in Southland has been told that it must keep the community better informed after accusations that it cannot be trusted.
Farmers in the Waituna catchment turned out in force to a public meeting last week to challenge the Whakamana Te Waituna Trust’s plans to spend more than $13 million in the area.
The trust had organised a drop-in session at the Gorge Road Country Club.
However, about 60 farmers and recreational users, some of whom had recently put in an Official Information Act (OIA) request to find out more about how the $13.3m would be spent, turned up armed with questions, and called for a meeting instead because of concerns about lack of consultation.
Waituna Farmers United chairman Ray McCrostie said he did not think trustees were listening to farmers in the catchment or treating them well.
Since the trust had been formed (in February) and gained funding from the Ministry of Environment, it seemed to have forgotten all about consultation with the catchment, he said.
People were concerned that the trust planned to spend an excessive amount of money on consultants, facilitators and contractors.
“When you denigrate and trample on the mana of the farmers at the bottom of the catchment, as you have done by your actions, you insult all of us.
“These actions in earlier times would have led our ancestors to war, because like Maori, farmers in this catchment have a deep attachment to the land.
Click through to www.stuff.co.nz and search for “waituna” for the complete article.