Defining central government’s role in improving the management of freshwater quality and allocation will be the focus of work in the months ahead, the Agriculture and Environment Ministers said today. Five reports, arising from public consultation on the sustainable Water Programme of Action are now available.
Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said water was vital for the rural economy.
"It's been estimated that extra irrigation could boost the economy by $2 billion, but the economic need for water also had to be balanced against social and environmental needs," Mr Sutton said.
Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said the consultation process generated thoughtful and comprehensive feedback across a broad range of perspectives.
"The five reports cover the different areas people have highlighted to us through public meetings, workshops with local government, hui and written submissions," Marian Hobbs said.
The key themes are: Decisions should continue to be made at the local level. There was, however, some support for national policy statements and/or national environmental standards Central government should provide guidance and support for local government Existing tools should be used to their full potential, rather than a complete overhaul of water management Integrated management is important and the recommendations of the recent report of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment “Growing for Good” were supported There should be caution about the use of market instruments in freshwater management The development of water harvesting and storage would greatly progress water allocation issues Communities should continue to be strongly involved in finding solutions to water management problems.
The reports are now available on: www.mfe.govt.nz and www.maf.govt.nz