Govt issues NPS for fresh water management

  • Nick Smith
Environment Budget 2011

Environment Minister Nick Smith today announced a National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management that recognises the value of fresh water to New Zealand and gives stronger national direction to councils.

“This National Policy Statement is about Government giving clear direction to councils on the importance of improving New Zealand’s fresh water management. It requires councils to set limits on fresh water quality and the amount of water that can be abstracted from our rivers, lakes and aquifers,” Dr Smith said.

The National Policy Statement is issued by the Minister for the Environment under the Resource Management Act and impacts upon all decisions on policies, plans and individual resource consents by councils and the Environment Court.

“New Zealand’s fresh water resources are among the cleanest and most abundant of anywhere in the world but problems are developing in our quality and quantity in some areas,” Dr Smith said. “We need to get better rules in place so we don’t end up having to fund major clean ups on rivers like the Waikato and lakes like Rotorua and make more efficient use of water for irrigation and electricity.

“The development of this policy involved extensive public submissions in 2009, the report of the Board on Inquiry in 2010 and the final report of the Land and Water Forum in April 2011. There is a broad consensus from all water stakeholders of the urgent need for this NPS. The final policy reflects the Bluegreen emphasis of this Government balancing economic growth with improved environmental management.

“The Government acknowledges this policy announcement is just a first step in the complex process of improving fresh water management. We want to build on the constructive co-operation that has been developed with the Land and Water Forum on the additional measures to support its implementation. We are also committed to monitoring improvements in fresh water management from the NPS and reviewing its effectiveness within five years as the complete package of reforms is rolled out.”

The NPS will be gazetted on 12 May 2011 and takes effect on 1 July 2011. The NPS is available at: