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Fourth Report on Water Management

27 NOVEMBER 2015

The Land And Water Forum Releases Fourth Report on Water Management

The Land and Water Forum (LWF) today published its fourth report, outlining 60 new consensus recommendations for how New Zealand should improve its management of fresh water and calling on the Government to urgently adopt all of its recommendations from earlier reports.

The Forum, which brings together over 60 organisations including business, energy generators, environmental and recreational NGOs, iwi and scientists, has focused its latest report on finding ways to meet water quality and quantity limits while maximising economic benefits.

“Improving the management of fresh water is a critical economic and environmental issue for New Zealand.

Now is a once in a generation chance to address it in full,” said Forum Chair Alastair Bisley.

“The recommendations from our four reports collectively outline a workable and balanced system that will facilitate growth and innovation within environmental limits. It is now up to the Government to put these systems in place.”

One of the key recommendations outlined in the report is to exclude all large livestock from waterways to protect the water quality of rivers and streams.

“We have recommended a framework to exclude all cattle, deer and pigs from waterways on the plains and lowland hills. It is important that livestock are prevented from entering rivers and streams,” said Mr Bisley.

Under the framework, councils will be able to implement further stock exclusions in areas of high ecological importance where national stock exclusions don’t apply. The framework is designed to be flexible and implemented gradually over time.

The Forum’s recommendations apply to both urban and rural waterways, and include urban specific recommendations such as the use of water sensitive urban design.

“Our recommendations focus on achieving limits through flexible and adaptive systems, facilitating infrastructure development and catchment scale mitigations, improving investment certainty, improving and standardising the information needed to set and manage limits in catchments, and reducing waste and inefficiency” said Mr Bisley.

“The focus should initially be on priority catchments, critical source areas and areas of significant ecological value.

“These recommendations, in combination with the ones we have provided previously, work together to allow land and water users to maximise the productivity and efficiency of their operations.”

The Forum has released three previous reports on the management of fresh water since 2009 and Mr Bisley called on the Government to adopt the three sets of earlier recommendations.

“We strongly urge the Government to implement all of our recommendations without delay. Consensus will hold only if what is recommended is substantially put in place.

“The resolution of iwi rights and interests in fresh water is essential to an enduring system of freshwater management in New Zealand,” Mr Bisley added.

“The responsibility for resolving iwi rights resides with the Crown and iwi as Treaty partners. In this report, we have suggested some ways in which this could be done. We have also been clear that the Crown should protect existing rights and ensure costs are not to be transferred to other parties.

“It is vital that New Zealand lifts its game in how we manage fresh water and does so urgently. Changing the freshwater management system is difficult but it extremely important for our cultural, economic and environmental future.

“The Forum has developed viable solutions to a complex and urgent problem. The Government has taken the critical first step by putting the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management in place. That is an important first step but it is not enough on its own. The key to progress is the full implementation of these consensus recommendations.”

ends

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