Funding available to clean up rivers and lakes

  • Nick Smith

Environment Minister Nick Smith today announced the criteria and assessment panel for the new fund to help councils and communities clean-up nationally significant water bodies that have been polluted.

“This Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund is to encourage regional councils and communities to put plans together to clean up lakes and rivers that have become badly polluted,” Dr Smith said. “The Government needs to be satisfied that a water body is nationally significant, that rules are in place to prevent ongoing pollution, that cleanup plans have wide community engagement and that the Regional Council is also financially committed to support the clean up.

“$9 million is available for allocation from the fund in the next year. This brings the total Government to fresh water clean ups in the years 2009-2014 to $94 million as compared to $16 million spent between 2004 and 2009. The fivefold increase reflects the importance this National-led Government puts on improved fresh water management.

“This new fund was an important recommendation of the Land and Water Forum. It is part of a broader programme of work on improving water management that includes the National Policy Statement on Freshwater, increased investment in irrigation, regulations requiring measurement of water takes and better monitoring and compliance of resource consents.”

The four-member assessment panel comprises Land Water Forum representatives Roku Mihinui (Iwi Advisors Forum), John Hutchings (Fonterra) and Hugh Canard (Whitewater NZ) and a representative from the Ministry for the Environment.

“The current state of some of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes is inconsistent with our clean, green brand. This new fund is a further step in the Government’s Fresh Start for Fresh Water programme to better care for our lakes and rivers,” Dr Smith said.

More information, including criteria for the fund and application forms are available at:

Attached: Biographies of Assessment Panel

John Hutchings is the Sustainability General Manager within the Supply and External Relations group of Fonterra. Mr Hutchings worked previously as an advisor on environmental, sustainable development and local government policy in the New Zealand Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.  He performed a similar role for Local Government New Zealand and spent his early career with the Taranaki Regional Council. Mr Hutchings is based in Wellington and is a member of the Land and Water Forum Small Group.

Hugh Canard works at Lincoln Ventures Ltd as its Environmental Group Manager and is involved with Whitewater New Zealand. Mr Canard has been an expert witness in water conservation hearings and the Environment Court and is a member of the Canterbury Regional Water Committee.  Based in Christchurch, he is also a member of the Land and Water Forum Small Group.

Roku Mihinui is the Chief Executive Officer of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, and Chair of the Iwi Advisors Forum on fresh water. Mr Mihinui was a Te Arawa co-negotiator for the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement in 2006 and led the subsequent implementation of the settlement. Based in Rotorua, he is a member of the Land and Water Forum Small Group.