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


Govt pools bureaucrats to finalise water policy

Govt pools bureaucrats to finalise water policy

By Pattrick Smellie

Nov. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The government has quietly formed a 40-strong Water Reform Directorate in the Ministry for the Environment to respond to last week's report of the four year experiment in consensus policy-making, the Land and Water Forum.

In a move welcomed by water sector watchers as a sign the LAWF process will produce major improvements in freshwater allocation and management, the directorate was established in August, drawing on officials from a range of disparate government agencies.

These include representatives from MfE, the Ministries of Primary Industries and Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Departments of Conservation and Internal Affairs, the Treasury, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Office of Treaty Settlements.

The directorate appears to be a response to concerns that too many agencies have had partial responsibility for freshwater policy, leading to fragmented advice.

Last week's LAWF report contained major recommendations to create a nationally guided, locally decided system for allocating freshwater resources among industrial, municipal, recreational, agricultural, iwi and other users.

Primary Industries and Environment Ministers David Carter and Amy Adams both welcomed the report, saying it provided a foundation for the government to complete its consideration of an issue that has become urgent as New Zealand waterways have become increasingly polluted and over-allocated.

"At this stage it is planned that it will be in place until about the end of March 2013," said the Environment Deputy Secretary Policy, Guy Beatson, in a statement supplied to BusinessDesk.

The directorate is headed by a senior MfE official Kay Harrison, reporting to Paul Reynolds (MfE and Chair of the Natural Resource Sector agencies) and Wayne McNee (MPI), as project sponsors.

"The timing of the setting up of the directorate reflected the need to gear up to provide timely advice on the Land and Water Forum recommendations," said Beatson. "Officials have been able to begin preparing advice based on the first two reports, while waiting on the finalisation of the third report.

"By co-locating this team of specialist analysts and advisors, the directorate is providing an all-of-government perspective to the water reform work, which is a key environmental and economic priority for the Government.

"Agencies may continue to provide separate second-opinion advice to their Ministers – although the more collaborative approach made possible by a cross-agency directorate will narrow the issues on which they may wish to suggest different approaches to Ministers."

The approach is consistent with the government's Better Public Services initiative, to improve collaboration in the bureaucracy.

"It is something we expect to see more often, especially across the Natural Resources Sector agencies which deal with complex, cross-cutting issues," said Beatson.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news