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$20m for freshwater and environment initiatives

$20m for freshwater and environment initiatives

Budget 2014 will make available $20 million over four years for environmental initiatives and to help the management of New Zealand’s natural environment, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

The Government has a package of reforms aimed at strengthening the Resource Management Act (RMA), and improving water quality and the way fresh water is managed.

“The Government has made a commitment to improving the quality of our fresh water, and developing a package of cohesive reform and clean-ups that will lead to more productive and sustainable use of our freshwater resource within a generation,” Ms Adams says.

“Our reforms to date include a national objectives framework, national bottom lines for fresh water, collaborative planning processes, better water accounting, and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on fresh water clean-ups.

“To continue this progress, $12 million in extra funding will be spent over the next four years to help councils and communities improve the way they plan and make decisions about managing their local freshwater resources.”

In addition, the Government has established the Te Mana o te Wai Fund, in partnership with the Māori Party, with $5 million made available over two years.

“This fund is intended to help communities to restore their local freshwater bodies through initiatives such as planting, riparian buffers, the use of nitrate inhibitors, and establishing artificial or constructed wetlands.”

The Government is also investing a further $3 million to implement the RMA reforms.

The funding will help the Environment Ministry provide essential support and guidance so the reforms can be implemented consistently and with minimum disruption to councils and their communities.

The reforms are focused on simplifying the RMA to provide certainty and predictability for communities and applicants, while reducing costs and time delays.

“The Government’s reforms are specifically aimed at improving decision-making at every level, and driving a fundamental shift towards more proactive planning for what we need and away from reactive decisions through consents and court appeals,” Ms Adams says.


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