11.10.19

Don’t let the opportunity slip

By Fiona Stephenson

As supporters of the GulfX mission, we understand te mauri o te wai is suffering.

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.

As supporters of healthy water, te mauri o te wai, read the information and join the conversation.  You can read through the discussion document or there is a summary of the discussion here.

Now make a submission!

  1. Use the online submission tool
  2. Answer the questions in the consultation document and email consultation.freshwater@mfe.govt.nz 

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:

Information on the key advisory groups who represent a broad spectrum of New Zealanders, and helped through the development of the proposals:

Advisory group reports can be found here: