Targeted measures to improve freshwater welcomed

28 May 2020

LGNZ has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a set of targeted tools to improve the quality of freshwater.

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a set of targeted tools to improve the quality of freshwater.

LGNZ is the peak body representing New Zealand’s 78 local councils, providing a unified voice for local government and a pathway for continuous improvement through CouncilMARK™, the sector’s independent assessment and continuous improvement programme.

“We support the outcomes that the Government and public seek, which are to lift our freshwater quality and protect the species that live in our rivers, lakes and streams,” commented LGNZ President Dave Cull.

“Today’s announcement shows that the Government has responded to the call from regional councils that the proposals need to be right-sized and workable on the ground.”

“Research clearly shows that the issues facing our freshwater catchments vary nationally, and that our councils and landowners need tools that target the most pressing issues they face.  Today’s announcement helps with that.”

LGNZ Regional Sector Chairman Doug Leeder said the engagement process had worked well.

“It’s been pleasing to see iwi, NGOs, local government, industry and central government in one room to develop these solutions, so that’s a credit to the process.  It’s resulted in a number of improvements, including a more robust framework for mandatory farm plans, and a more workable timeframe to make these improvements,” said Mr Leeder.

“It’s also highlighted that there’s still considerable work to do, particularly around allocation and iwi rights.  We support Te Kāhui Wai Māori in asking the Government to address these issues.”

“Councils have been very conscious of the economic challenges, as these reforms require major investment for rural and urban communities. The Government’s package remains ambitious and implementation will not be easy and will take time, but it is progress we need to make together as a country.”

“The Government came to the party with substantial funding in Budget 2020 for non-regulatory initiatives, and with this sort of support, we think the Essential Freshwater proposals will strike the right balance between improving freshwater and helping our economy to recover in a post-Covid world,” he continued.