Consultation on freshwater management ideas planned

  • Nick Smith
  • Nathan Guy
Environment Primary Industries

A report today published by the Land and Water Forum on the next steps needed to improved management of freshwater will be carefully considered by Government and help contribute to a public discussion paper to be published next year, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said today. 

“The Government has an ambitious programme of work on improving New Zealand’s freshwater management.  These ideas on requiring good management practice, of how we can maximise the economic benefit of water within environmental limits, integrated catchment management, stock exclusion and enabling more efficient use of water are a further contribution on how we can achieve that,” Dr Smith says.

“I acknowledge the Forum’s significant efforts in tackling difficult policy challenges and we welcome their recommendations,” says Mr Guy.

“The detailed proposals from the Forum on excluding stock from waterways are a major step forward. The comprehensive recommendation to exclude pigs, deer, dairy and beef cattle from waterways in New Zealand relative to the type of farming terrain and the timetable for achieving it provides a sensible way forward. Getting all parties to agree on this proposal is a good result, and we intend to publicly consult in early 2016.

“The proposals to require more efficient use of water through farmers adopting good management practice and enabling water to be allocated to where it gets the most productive use are also constructive.”

“The influence of the Land and Water Forum is evidenced by yesterday’s Resource Legislation Bill incorporating their quite radical change to how plans are developed with the new collaborative planning process. The legislation includes the regulation-making powers to be able to implement their latest ideas on how to fence rivers, lakes and wetlands from stock. The Bill also provides for an integrated National Policy Statement and National Environmental Standard as recommended by the Forum and which will enable these tools for freshwater management to be strengthened,” Dr Smith says.

“I welcome the commitment of the Land and Water Forum to maintain this momentum and to move onto the next part of its mandate. These are the important issues on how to include the MCI and more effective nutrient controls to limit algal growth in rivers and lakes in the National Policy Statement and we welcome the Forum’s input on these,” Dr Smith says.

“The Government is drafting a discussion document on the next steps on freshwater management for public consultation next year. This report and our discussions with iwi leaders on freshwater will be carried into this paper. We will not be making decisions on these ideas until after all New Zealanders have had an opportunity for input,” the Minister concluded.