Forum to progress next stage in water reforms

  • Nick Smith
  • David Carter
Agriculture Environment

The Land and Water Forum has been engaged by the Government to progress the next stage of policy work on setting limits on water quality, quantity and allocation, Environment Minister Nick Smith and Agriculture Minister David Carter announced today.

“Progress on fresh water reform stalled for a decade because of highly polarised positions. The Land and Water Forum has done a great job bringing together farmers, environmentalists, industry and iwi to develop an agreed way forward. We are releasing today the Government’s high level response to the Land and Water Forum’s April report and are engaging the Forum to do further work on the complex issue of setting water limits and improving systems for allocation,” the Ministers said.

“We have been encouraged by the progress to date from the Land and Water Forum’s work. A National Policy Statement on Freshwater was put in place on 1July this year requiring Regional Councils to set limits on both water quality and quantity. New funds have been established to support sustainable irrigation projects and the clean up of polluted rivers and lakes. This national level collaboration under the Forum has also helped drive community initiatives in Rotorua, Manawatu, the Mackenzie and in Selwyn to improve water management.”

Members of the 62-strong Land and Water Forum include: Beef + Lamb New Zealand,  DairyNZ, Ecologic, Environmental Defence Society, Federated Farmers, Fish and Game New Zealand, Fonterra, Horticulture New Zealand, Irrigation New Zealand, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, New Zealand Forest Owners Association, Forest and Bird, Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu, Tourism Industry Association, Tuwharetoa Māori Trust Board, Waikato-Tainui, Water New Zealand, Whanganui River Māori Trust Board and Whitewater New Zealand.

“The Government has agreed to provide an additional $1.1 million to advance the next stage of work. The Forum is to report to Government by May 2012 on methods, tools and governance arrangements for setting limits for water quality and quantity and by November 2012 on methods and tools on allocation,” the Ministers said.

“Water is New Zealand’s most important natural resource. There is broad agreement on the need to improve fresh water management as evidenced by the consensus on the 53 recommendations in the Forum’s Fresh Start for Freshwater report. This next phase of work will help underpin the newly adopted National Policy Statement on Freshwater and progress the important details on the Forum’s earlier recommendations.”    

The Government’s response is at: