The health of our water in New Zealand is suffering as a result of urban development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and other human activities which cause the build-up of sediment and other pollutants in our waterways.
Last month, proposals were set out by Government to seek to treat water as a taonga and recognise te mana o te wai (the innate life force of water). Of the move, Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson said “water is the life and the wellbeing of our communities and nature depends on it. We have long needed a holistic approach that ensures our water stays clean and healthy from mountain to the sea.”
Already, in so many of our waterways we can’t swim, fish or gather kai as our parents and great-grandparents did. We also need clean water to drink and for irrigation to support a sustainable economy.
The Government is proposing new requirements that would:
- strengthen Te Mana o Te Wai as the framework for freshwater management
- better provide for ecosystem health (water, fish and plant life)
- better protect wetlands and estuaries
- better manage storm water and wastewater, and protect sources of drinking water
- control high-risk farming activities and limit agricultural intensification
- improve farm management practices
The purpose for the proposal is to show a compressive approach to making sure water is healthy, safe and swimmable. But after years of degradation, cleaning up and healing our waterways is going to take time, effort and everybody. Higher standards for water quality, monitoring systems and tools are just some of the measures needed to achieve these outcomes.
Now make a submission!
- Use the online submission tool
- Answer the questions in the consultation document and email [email protected]
The official closing date for submissions is Thursday 17 October 2019 at 5pm. However, submissions will be accepted for a further two weeks beyond that date, until 31 October.
The key proposals can be found here:
- Draft National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management
- Proposed National Environmental Standards for Freshwater
- Draft Stock Exclusion Section 360 Regulations
Information on the key advisory groups who represent a broad spectrum of New Zealanders, and helped through the development of the proposals:
- Te Kahui Wai Māori — the Māori Freshwater Forum
- Freshwater Leaders Group
- Science and Technical Advisory Group
- Essential Freshwater Regional Sector Water Group
Advisory group reports can be found here:
- Te Mana o Te Wai: The health of our wai, the health of our nation: Kāhui Wai Māori report to Hon Minister David Parker
- Freshwater Science and Technical Advisory Group report to the Minister for the Environment
- Freshwater Leaders Group report to the Minister for the Environment
- Regional sector commentary on Essential Freshwater proposals: He Pito Kōrero e pa ana ki Ngā Tūtohu Mō te Waimāori