Freshwater reform report released

  • Nick Smith

The Government today released the final report of the Land and Water Forum that was presented to Environment Minister Nick Smith and Agriculture Minister David Carter this week saying it provides a good framework for advancing water reform.

“There is a huge challenge ahead in improving New Zealand’s freshwater management. We commend the Land and Water Forum on its Fresh Start for Freshwater report and the public consultation on its recommendations. The next step is working with our officials so informed decisions can be made on the recommendations and implementation,” Dr Smith said.

The Land and Water Forum was established in 2009 involving 58 stakeholders from agricultural and environmental groups, iwi, energy companies, recreational interests, and industry. It presented its report, A Fresh Start for Freshwater, in September last year and has subsequently held 18 public meetings involving more that 1200 people to discuss its recommendations.

“It is encouraging that there is an emerging consensus on the key elements of the reform that is required,” Dr Smith said. “It is clear that central Government needs to provide clearer national direction, that limits need to be set around allocation and water quality, and that there are further economic opportunities from New Zealand’s freshwater resource from storage and wise management.

“The Government has wanted the Land and Water Forum report and public consultation to be completed before making final decisions on the National Policy Statement on Freshwater. This is now our immediately priority and our ambition is to have that work completed this year. The wider recommended reforms will take longer to determine and realistically several years to implement.

“Better freshwater management is critical to our primary industries, our great Kiwi lifestyle, our tourism industry, to iwi, to our clean environment, and to the electricity sector. Those competing interests make the job difficult but the Land and Water Forum shows these groups are working together and want Government to make improvements.”

For the report go to: