Next steps on water reform

  • Nick Smith
  • David Carter
  • Pita Sharples
Agriculture Environment Maori Affairs Budget 2011

The Government has agreed to a forward work programme on water reform that will involve the Land and Water Forum, iwi and ongoing analysis by officials, Environment Minister Nick Smith, Agriculture Minister David Carter and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples say.

"The National Policy Statement, support for irrigation and the fresh water clean-up fund are the Government's initial response. We have set down a timeline of further work on the implementation of setting limits on water quality and quantity, including governance arrangements with options going to Cabinet in February 2012 and work on more efficient allocation mechanisms by late 2012," Dr Smith said.

Mr Carter said there was important work to be advanced on the detailed criteria and process for the Irrigation Acceleration Fund and the proposal for a $400 million Crown equity investment vehicle.

“The objective is for the Government to effectively partner with rural communities on getting economically viable and environmentally sustainable water infrastructure projects up and running.”

Dr Sharples said the Government has had a constructive engagement with iwi on the water work programme.

“Iwi leaders have welcomed the Land and Water Forum Report. The Government has agreed there will be ongoing engagement between Ministers and the Iwi Leaders’ Group on the rights and interests of iwi in fresh water.”

The Ministers said: “Improving the management of fresh water is a very complex issue with strong and diverse interests. Our ambition is to make steady, incremental progress with wide engagement and building as wide a consensus as possible on the way forward."