Submitting on the Government’s Freshwater Consultation

18 Oct 2019

The Government is consulting on the Action for healthy waterways: A discussion document on national direction for our essential freshwater.

In summary, the Government has three objectives concerning freshwater which are outlined in the Discussion Document (p.8): 

  1. Stop further degradation of New Zealand’s freshwater resources and start making immediate improvements so that water quality is materially improving within five years.
  2. Reverse past damage to bring New Zealand’s freshwater resources, waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation.
  3. Address water allocation issues having regard to all interests including Māori and existing and potential new users.

Full background documents, including the Government’s Discussion Document, can be found at https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultation/action-for-healthy-waterways  This document sets out a package of proposals to achieve the first two of these objectives. Beyond this, the Government will continue to work on broader system reform, including water allocation.

While HortNZ strongly supports the Government’s intent to maintain and improve freshwater quality, our submission stresses how achieving these outcomes will affect growers and what trade-offs will be required. Water is essential for river health and growing healthy food for all, forever, and to support our economy. The timeframes set for achieving outcomes must be realistic. The focus needs to be on planned progressive improvement in water use and discharges, so we achieve outcomes that reflect not only the values we have for freshwater but also wider social, economic, environmental and cultural values.

Read about our position on this consultation and access supporting documents, including a template submission for growers to consider using by clicking here.