New limits dramatically restricting the amount of fresh water able to be drawn from the region’s water sources will be set in the Kotahi Plan by December 2024, and the setting of those limits is going to require real community buy-in, says Hastings resident Xan Harding.
Mr Harding announced today that he is standing for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council in the upcoming local body elections, vying for one of the three Heretaunga/Hastings seats.
His considerable experience in environmental planning, development and advocacy will see him prioritise Climate Action, clean streams, water security, regional parks and support for Hawke’s Bay’s dedicated environment volunteers.
Well-known in the rural community as a long-time spokesperson for the Hawke’s Bay wine industry, Xan achieved wider recognition for his role chairing the Te Mata Peak People’s Track Society, helping to broker a solution to a polarising public issue whilst representing the local interest in increased access to Te Mata Peak.
Water use is just one of the critical environmental issues coming up, all of which will require collaboration and strong leadership. “We will need input from every sector of our region: our councils, iwi, urban communities, primary producers and manufacturers. I’m firmly of the belief that if we all work together, we can achieve the changes we need to protect our environment and our standard of living, whilst responding to the pressures of climate change.”
Over the past 10 years, Xan has been involved in every major regional water issue, including central roles in the TANK Plan Change and the Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order. He combines a detailed technical understanding of regional water issues, with regional and national governance experience in finance, water and environment, including longstanding directorships of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers and New Zealand Winegrowers.
More recently, Xan spent 18 months on the staff of HBRC, supporting the development of water catchment groups across Hawke’s Bay. He has an honours degree in horticultural science, along with postgraduate qualifications in banking and environment management. He resigned from HBRC at the beginning of July, to focus on his campaign.
“Hawke’s Bay needs firm, focused, collaborative leadership to enshrine strong environmental
bottom-lines, support residents to respond to climate change, and provide certainty for primary producers so they can continue to innovate and generate the returns that underpin our HB community.”
‘Better Together - Kia Honoa (Let’s Connect)’ is Xan’s campaign slogan, which encapsulates his commitment to collaborative governance, the importance of looking for common ground amongst opposing views, and the power of people working together for the environment.
Xan and his family settled in Hawke’s Bay in 2000 and planted a vineyard at Haumoana, after a career locally & internationally in banking. In 2014, they moved to their current vineyard at Bridge Pa.
Detailed information about Xan’s priorities for the Regional Council can be found at Xan-for-HBRC.nz and on Facebook at Xan-for-HBRC.