Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Freshwater report a 'once in a generation' opportunity

Freshwater report once in a generation opportunity to settle water rights

By Pattrick Smellie

Nov 15 (BusinessDesk) - The Land and Water Forum's final report on new ways to allocate freshwater is a "once in a generation opportunity", its chair, Alastair Bisley, said as the report was released to a careful welcome by government Ministers, and applause from a wide range of water users.

While there were some notable non-signatories to the outcomes of the four year experiment in consensus decision-making, the forum managed to get 95 percent of its 60-plus members from industry, local government, iwi, environmental groups, recreational users and farmers across the line on 67 recommendations.

Among signatories are the national farming lobby, Federated Farmers, although their objection to any system requiring water rents saw the forum make no recommendation in that area.

The system it promotes would see the government establish national guidelines and standards for freshwater catchment management, which would be used by regional councils as the foundation for collaborative processes at a local level to establish "scarcity thresholds" for freshwater resources.

When such thresholds are reached, that would trigger a requirement for all existing water users to be governed by resource consents to give certainty about water rights, to allow existing water resources to be shared fairly across users, easing the transfer of water rights between alternative users, and ensuring new users can "enter the water economy."

"Once a scarcity threshold has been met, all takes in a catchment should be formally accounted for and existing users, including those operating under permitted activity rules or statutory authorisations … should be 'grand-parented' into the management framework through a process that ensures they get only what they need," the report says. Major water users are from this month required to start accurately recording their consumption.

The new system would also see regional councils identify contaminant loads in every freshwater catchment, pinpoint their origin, and manage them to achieve whatever standards of freshwater purity have been agreed.

The forum report says this need not involve "trading off or balancing values against each other."

"There are many ways to pursue environmental, economic and social benefits at once, including through accessing new water through efficiency gains and new infrastructure, adding value to our products and services, science and innovation, and leveraging off environmental performance in export markets.

"The change we propose sets up the system towards outcomes which are advantageous to all parties."

Among those not to sign up to the LAWF report were Auckland urban water company Watercare Services, for reasons that are unclear, and the electricity company TrustPower, which has extensive plans to produce hydro-electricity and irrigation schemes on the Canterbury Plains.

Irrigators expressed displeasure about what they say were last minute changes limiting resource consents for water to no more than 20 years in the first instance, possibly stretching out to 35 years.

“Certainty is the key if irrigators are to invest in sustainability. Irrigators need long-duration consents and an explicit right of renewal,” said Andrew Curtis of Irrigation NZ. “Short durations and uncertainty of renewal will produce reactive and high- risk thinking."

Irrigation schemes needed 50 year consents to justify the initial capital outlay.

"This would improve the viability of initial and on-going capital investment. In return for this, IrrigationNZ agrees consents need to adapt in a timely manner to environmental limit changes."

The report also includes a joint statement on iwi freshwater rights and interests, agreeing these should be settled between the Crown and iwi under Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations, without compromising existing water rights.

"Costs relating to Crown-iwi resolutions should not be transferred on to other parties," the statement says.

Primary Industries and Environment Ministers David Carter and Amy Adams welcomed the report as providing "a solid foundation from which to progress the government’s strategic direction for water management."

“This work will feed into further progress in the fresh water reform programme, from which we’ve already seen the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, the Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund and the Irrigation Acceleration Fund."

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>

BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>


BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Housing: More House Price Gains Expected

House price expectations remain high, with a net 56% of respondents expecting house prices will increase. Fears of higher interest rates are fading, consistent with the RBNZ’s signals this year. Affordability and a lack of houses for ... More>>

TDDA: State-Of-The-Art Drug Testing Laboratory To Open In Auckland

World leading drug testing agencies, The Drug Detection Agency (TDDA) and Omega Laboratories, open New Zealand laboratory More>>

Network: Bigpipe Launches Ultra-Fast Broadband Into Wellington

Bigpipe Launches Ultra-Fast Broadband into Wellington Naked broadband provider Bigpipe has extended its national reach, announcing today, the launch of its unlimited UFB offering into Wellington. The Spark Venture business is giving Wellingtonians the ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news