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

 

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:


NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • NIWA: The Year's Top Science Findings

    Since 1972 NIWA has operated a Clean Air Monitoring Station at Baring Head, near Wellington... In June, Baring Head’s carbon dioxide readings officially passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level last reached more than three million years ago. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Business
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news