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

 

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Catches Breath After "Goldilocks" Slump

The New Zealand dollar edged up following its dramatic slump yesterday after the Reserve Bank confirmed speculation it intervened in the currency market last month and PM John Key suggested a “Goldilocks” level far lower than at present. More>>

ALSO:

Biosecurity: Kiwifruit Claim To Hold Officials Accountable For Psa

Kiwifruit growers have joined forces to hold Biosecurity NZ accountable in the courts for its negligence in allowing 2010’s Psa outbreak that devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry and exports. Foundation claimants representing well ... More>>

ALSO:

Poison: Anglers Advised Not To Eat Trout In 1080 Areas

With the fishing season opening in just a few days (1 October 2014), anglers are being warned by the Department of Conservation(DOC) not to eat trout from pristine backcountry waters and their downstream catchments, where the department is conducting 1080 poisoning operations. More>>.

ALSO:

Quotas: MPI Swoop On Suspected Fraudulent Fishing Activity

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) compliance officers swooped on a Hawkes Bay fishing enterprise today to secure evidence in an investigation into suspected fraudulent activity... “The investigation involves activity throughout the commercial supply chain – catching, landing, processing and exporting.” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fonterra Slashes 2015 Milk Payout, Earnings Tumble 76%

Fonterra Cooperative Group cut its forecast 2015 milk price payout by about 12 percent, citing weaker global dairy prices and said there is a risk of further declines given strong global milk production. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news