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Focus for the Otago Regional Council’s Land and Water Regional Plan has shifted from the Manuherikia and the Cardrona to the next area rohe (area).

The new land and water plan, due to be notified at the end of 2023, will set rules for land and water management over an area prized by many.

The council has established the Upper Lakes rohe as the lakes of Wakatipu, Wanaka and Hawea, from their tributaries to their outlets.

Catchments include the Greenstone, Dart, and Rees rivers, the Makarora and Matukituki and Hunter rivers, and smaller tributaries including Bullock Creek, Minaret Burn, Timaru River, and the Von and Lochy rivers.

Dunstan ward councillor and the designated rohe liaison Cr Gary Kelliher said consultation for the plan was moving into a new phase.

The lakes’ upper catchments had very high natural values and extended into Mt Aspiring National Park.

“Those areas are quite pristine.

“They don’t have issues like some of the other areas have issues,” Cr Kelliher said.

“These plans, they do have quite an impact and it’s not until you look to do something in these areas that you realise the importance of the plans,” Cr Kelliher said.

Public consultation began in Wanaka and Frankton last week with drop-in sessions and public meetings.