For our Future A prosperous and sustainable Otago

For our Future is the guiding principle that the Otago Regional Council has recently adopted to capture the spirit of what we are trying to achieve. It highlights sustainability — sustaining our people through economic activity and sustaining our environment, which in turn sustains all of us.

Our environment affects many areas of our lives and livelihoods. It attracts people here as tourists, or to live. It is fundamental to all the pastoral industries represented in Otago. As they are educated, our children learn to appreciate the value of the natural environment and how to protect it.

The Way We Work

To achieve our goals for the region we all have to work together. We have limited resources and we can’t do everything. Our preferred way of working with the community will be themed as enabling – doing what is within our capabilities and responsibilities and encouraging others to do what is within theirs.

We will shape the framework within which landholders can both use and sustain our resources. Often a regulatory framework like the Otago Water Plan will provide clarity about what is expected of resource users. We may provide information but we will also encourage landholders to get their own advice and draw on expertise around them to meet those regulations. This is not the responsibility of the ORC.

With the new water quality rules, we will seek to inform landholders about what these mean for them. In the area of natural hazards, we will encourage members of the community to be more aware of these hazards, and become equipped and ready to deal with events that might affect them.

Biodiversity is a particular focus in the coming 10 years. The first step is to develop an approach – we will write a biodiversity strategy for Otago. We don’t consider ourselves experts on this subject. There are many groups who have been working on biodiversity projects for years. We won’t take over their work but we’ll look for ways to further encourage it.

Constrained resources mean we cannot be all things to all people. But we want to involve communities – large and small, urban and rural, near or remote – in shaping our policies and our methods of doing things within the context of the Long Term Plan. We will then expect landholders, district and city councils, community agencies, and individuals to take responsibility for their own situation and act on it in line with the resource management directions we have established.

We also intend to be more expansive in our thinking and open to looking outside of Otago for ideas and solutions that will fit well here. We want to create partnerships with other regions on issues of common interest, which will improve our effectiveness.

We can envisage many ways in which an enabling approach would work well, such as:

  • encouraging farmers or urban dwellers in catchment or water care groups work towards improvements in water quality
  • assisting urban communities set priorities for public transport and air quality, where it is an issue
  • supporting communities by providing technical and funding assistance for investigations and feasibility studies such as for water storage and irrigation.

What’s new?

We are proposing to amend our Revenue and Financing Policy to introduce two new rates: a water quality targeted rate and a dairy monitoring targeted rate.

We are also proposing some changes to how we pay for compliance monitoring and compliance audits. These amendments are discussed in more detail later in this document.

There are no other new significant items proposed for the 10-year period in the draft Long Term Plan.

We acknowledge that other than the proposed amendments to the Revenue and Financing Policy discussed above, we have not included any options for what we are proposing to do in this consultation document. The key issues we are working on all involve the implementation of existing policies and strategies.

Options were presented when those policies strategies and levels of service were being developed and consulted on with our community. There are no proposed changes to our levels of service.