$41.2m for resource management, water reform

  • Nick Smith
Environment Budget 2015

The Government is committing $41.2 million in Budget 2015 to deliver on its priorities for the environment, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

Budget 2015 will invest an additional $20.4 million over four years to provide greater national direction and support to councils in implementing the resource management reforms.

A further $4 million will go towards supporting the Environmental Protection Authority’s role to implement the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) legislation in 2015/16. An additional $16.8 million is allocated to support the Government’s programme of improving the management of freshwater.

“A key priority in 2015/16 is progressing the Government’s second phase of Resource Management Act reforms,” Dr Smith says. These reforms involve stronger national direction and greater use of National Policy Standards and National Environment Standards.

“The funding will also support the development of planning templates to enable a more standardised and simplified approach to resource management.

“The additional funding for freshwater work will enable the Government to progress the next steps in lifting New Zealand’s management of our rivers, lakes and aquifers.

“It will help enable implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and the 2014 National Objectives Framework. Key issues to resolve include policy on exceptions, coastal lagoons, Māori rights and interests, and supporting a new collaborative approach to resolving managing freshwater within councils.

“Budget 2015 will also support the Government’s work in improving New Zealand’s ocean management. Prior to this Government, there was no system of environmental assessment for activities in New Zealand’s huge EEZ.  The next step in implementing this new law is the transfer and improvement of regulations relating to the release of pollutants into the ocean environment, and developing a new Marine Protected Areas Act.”