Guardians appointees sworn in

Assembled at a Guardians of Lake Wanaka meeting at the Wanaka Doc office this week are (back from left) Doc conservation partnership manager Phil Tisch, guardian Barrie Wills, QLDC liaison for the group councillor Calum MacLeod, guardians Alan Cone, John Darby and Taare Bradshaw, (front from left) guardian Don Robertson, Conservation Minister Nick Smith, group chairwoman Helen Tait and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean. Photo supplied.
Assembled at a Guardians of Lake Wanaka meeting at the Wanaka Doc office this week are (back from left) Doc conservation partnership manager Phil Tisch, guardian Barrie Wills, QLDC liaison for the group councillor Calum MacLeod, guardians Alan Cone, John Darby and Taare Bradshaw, (front from left) guardian Don Robertson, Conservation Minister Nick Smith, group chairwoman Helen Tait and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean. Photo supplied.
Three new Guardians of Lake Wanaka members were sworn in by Conservation Minister Nick Smith at their inaugural meeting this week.

In Wanaka on Wednesday to attend the Guardians' meeting, Dr Smith welcomed

John Darby, Don Robertson and Alan Cone, who join reappointed members Barrie Wills, Taare Bradshaw and Helen Tait - who continues as chairwoman - for the next three-year term.

Queenstown Lakes councillor Calum MacLeod acts as the Guardians' liaison with council.

Dr Smith emphasised the importance of the Department of Conservation's partnership focus and the role of the Guardians in working with agencies, groups and individuals to protect lake quality.

A Guardians of Lake Wanaka-run seminar last year reinforced concerns the quality of the lake was deteriorating but there was insufficient data at present to properly monitor the trends and take appropriate action, Ms Tait said.

''With the inevitability that lake quality will further deteriorate.''

The Guardians were determined to avoid the ''crisis state'' which had occurred in several North Island lakes leaving local authorities there with costly remediation programmes.

The group had welcomed national water quality standards released by the Government earlier this month and had agreed on a future objective of working with the Otago Regional Council to ensure the quality of Lake Wanaka was maintained.

The Guardians would also work with community groups to raise funds for developing a lake management framework which would include improved water quality monitoring capability and define lake quality targets.

The Guardians of Lake Wanaka are empowered under the Lake Wanaka Preservation Act 1973 to report and make recommendations to the Minister of Conservation.

- lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz