HBRC Councillors

A ‘must  read’ document prepared for each meeting of the Regional Council is the pedestrian-sounding ‘Significant Organisational Activities through (Month) (Year)’.

It gets published online as part of the monthly Council Meeting Agenda papers, normally on the Friday preceding the last Wednesday of each month (that last Wednesday is when the HBRC meets).

One can always count on a few tantalising tidbits as to what the Council is up to, much of which never hits the headlines … or hits them when it’s too late to do anything but complain! Seriously, you’re sure to find something in this list that affects your well-being and peace of mind!

I last reported on these ‘Significant Activities’ at the end of August (here).

Here are some teasers in the report for the 30 September HBRC meeting, culled from 97 items. My editorial comments are in italics.


25. The role of Team Leader Hydrology/Hydrogeology was filled with the successful candidate starting on 26 October 2020. [Dr Mona Wells. Given the huge importance of HBRC’s water agenda, this is a super-critical role.]

26. The Executive Leadership Team are pleased to have appointed a candidate into the newly created Group Manager Policy and Regulation position with the successful person starting on 30 November 2020. [Katrina Brunton. Another super-critical role … HBRC’s ‘chief of police’]

Climate Change

29. Staff following up actions arising from Council decisions made at 29 July meeting, including climate      change communications campaign to launch in September. Also aligning work programmes in LTP preparation to ‘test’ community support for extra funding and new service suggested to be offered through a semi-autonomous unit focussing on climate change mitigation in Hawke’s Bay. [No public change, although I hear a ‘Climate Ambassador’ will be hired to placate Councillor Barker, who had called for a climate ‘unit’ to be created.]

30. Community perceptions surveying nearing completion and SIL Research’s final report due this month, thereafter intended to present that to Council meeting on 28 October. [Survey is now completed … stay tuned.]

Marine & Coast

32. HBRC has just received the final report modelling the effect of river inputs on coastal water quality.  This report highlights the influence of our river systems on nitrogen concentrations in Hawke Bay. A copy of the report can be found: Here [Not available to public]

Replaced by new #33: HBRC has just received the final report modelling how changes to the state of different stressors in six Hawke’s Bay estuaries may change their health in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

[Maybe Councillor Kirton can tell us if all this modelling means we’ll see water quality improvement in our lifetime?]

Predator Free HB

34. Work is continuing with the control largely completed on the first 5500 ha and detection about to begin to establish possum proof of absence on that area. About 20% of the next 9000ha has bait stations set up to begin the possum eradication on that area.

Northern Catchment (mainly Wairoa)

40. The PGF Shovel Ready Projects are progressing well. The Rahui Bridge construction has nearly finished. The Nuhaka River Road diversion is well progressed and fish relocation from the existing river channel is occurring this week. The Rangatahi Dropout at Mahia has begun works.

TANK Plan Change
[This item and the next give new meaning to the term ‘slow motion’!]

42. 240 submissions have been received on the TANK plan. The hearings commissioners are in the process of being appointed for a hearing scheduled for May 2021.

Water Conservation Order

45. The Environment Court has set hearing dates as 9 – 19 February 2021.

HPUDS – Heretaunga Plains Urban Development

46. HPUDS Implementation Working Group meeting held on 14 September at Hastings District Council offices. No decisions made, but discussions have prompted re-evaluation of HPUDS, scope of the review that was scheduled for 2021/22, and implications of the new national policy statement on urban development as it relates to the Hastings/ Napier urban area.

47. From 20 August 2020, the new national policy statement on urban development took effect. The Hastings/Napier urban area is categorised as a ‘Tier 2’ urban area with a large number of policy directives for RMA planning, infrastructure planning and resource consent decision-making.

48. MFE officials have indicated that the NPS on Highly Productive Land is likely to be finalised in first half of 2021.

[Will all this add up to any safety for our soils? We’ve heard plenty about ‘water security’ … ‘soil security’ is equally or more important, given that we don’t ger fresh soil every year!]

Flood Control

56. HBRC was successful in receiving Resilience Funding managed through PDU to accelerate the work to meet 1:500 level of protection for the Heretaunga Plains Flood Control Scheme.  $20m overall project budget with 64% being funded by Govt and 36% by HBRC. [Consider this a climate change initiative.]

Heretaunga Plains water take renewals

66. Takes from the Heretaunga Plains unconfined aquifer (approx. 200 lodged) expired 31 May 2018 and are being exercised under s124. These are being processed as a group, as requested by applicants. Report on the individual and combined stream depletion effects now received, and the draft report being prepared for discussion with parties. Decision on notification pending. [No change reported on this critical matter.]

Waimarama Road (Cycling) Safety Project

 69. Working with HDC to complete safer off-road section parallel to Waimarama Road, for all trail users.  Expected completion December 2020. Awaiting for HBRC funding contribution. [No change.]

NCC Wastewater

  71. Napier City Council was served an abatement notice (AN) requiring it to cease the unauthorised discharge (leaks) by 30 October 2020. Following a request from Napier City Council in September, HBRC agreed to extend the date on abatement notice to the 30th November 2020.

72. NCC has started pre repair inspections (23/9/20) and repairs are expected to take one month but are heavily dependent on weather and H&S of divers carrying out the repairs.

Hastings Industrial Discharges

73. HDC are experiencing issues with industrial discharges into its stormwater network that ultimately contribute to ongoing water quality issues in the Ruahapia Stream. Council has served HDC with an abatement notice to cease discharges of wastewater into its stormwater network in the Ruahapia.

Air Complaints & Enforcement

79. HBRC currently have 13 prosecutions at various stages which we are unable to comment on. [Sentencing decisions pending on three other cases.]

CHB Wastewater Discharge

90. Actions proposed by CHBDC for municipal wastewater discharges include further resource consents for new and amended discharges, which HBRC anticipates will be lodged soon. Meeting updating on progress held on 6 August [No change]

Production Land Use Consents – Tukituki Catchment

91. 25 complete production land use activity consents have been lodged and approximately 150 pre-applications received to date. Letters have been sent to applicants informing them of the new deadline of 26 February 2021 for lodgement of Tukituki land use resource consent applications. [Some 800 Farm Environmental Management Plans (FEMPs) have been filed.]

Which of these would you like to know more about? Comment below.

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