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Managing our freshwater resources effectively

9 December 2004

Managing our freshwater resources effectively

A discussion document on finding the best ways to manage New Zealand's freshwater resources sustainably was released today by Environment Minister Marian Hobbs and Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton.

The discussion document sets out to examine the pressures on our water resources and the different ways in which New Zealanders value water. It signals the first step in a nationwide consultation programme, which is part of the sustainable Water Programme of Action. Mr Sutton said the discussion document outlined the government’s preliminary thinking in response to today's challenges to managing water resources, canvassing a range of ideas and possible actions.

A series of consultation meetings hosted by Environment Ministry and Agriculture and Forestry Ministry staff will be held at 20 centres around the country during February next year. Feedback will be sought on the issues identified and the proposed actions to address them.

Marian Hobbs said that as minister responsible for the Sustainable Development Programme of Action, she wanted the views of interested people before the government's position is determined.

"We want New Zealanders to let us know whether we've identified the right issues and the right options and what others might exist," Marian Hobbs said.

The sustainable Water Programme of Action focuses on water quality, water allocation and use, and methods for identifying water bodies of national importance. These three areas of work are the basis for the discussion document.

The discussion document outlines the different ways in which New Zealanders value and use freshwater and how New Zealand's water is managed presently and the pressures and challenges facing our water management system. It identifies eight key issues facing the country's water management system and 13 actions to improve the water management system.

The Sustainable Development Programme of Action is part of the government's efforts to provide a sustainable future. The discussion document may be viewed at the following websites: www.maf.govt.nz and www.mfe.govt.nz and details on meeting dates will be available early in the New Year. Consultation closes on March 18, 2005.

ENDS

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