Hon David Parker
Minister for the Environment
8 October 2018
October 8, 2018
The Government today is announcing its next steps to improve the state of our waterways, promising a noticeable
improvement in water quality within five years.
“Clean water is our birthright. Local rivers and lakes should be clean enough for our children to swim in, and put their
head under, without getting crook,” Environment Minister David Parker said.
“There will be a focus on at-risk catchments so as to halt the decline. We’re not going to leave the hard issues for
David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor today released the Government’s blueprint to improve freshwater
quality. It also sets out a new approach to the Māori/Crown relationship that will acknowledge Māori interests in fair
access to water to develop their land.
“New Zealanders value our rivers and lakes. More than 80 per cent are committed to improving water quality for the
benefit of future generations and they want central and local government, farmers and businesses to do more,” David
Parker said at a function in Parliament to launch the new work programme.
“New rules will be in place by 2020 to stop the degradation of freshwater quality - a new National Policy Statement for
Freshwater Management and a new National Environmental Standard.
“The rules will include controls on the excesses of some intensive land use practices. Our remaining wetlands and
estuaries will be better protected.
“We will drive good management practices on farms and in urban areas.”
“We are also amending the Resource Management Act to enable regional councils to more quickly implement water quality
and quantity limits," David Parker said.
“We know Māori share the same interests as the rest of New Zealand in improving water quality and ensuring fair access
to water resources.”
Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis, said both Māori and the Crown are committed to Te Mana o
“We are committed to a substantive discussion on how to address Maori interests, by taking practical steps to address
constraints on Māori land development.”
David Parker said the Government’s approach to solving these issues is engaging leading New Zealanders who care about
our freshwater – environmental NGOs, Māori, farming leaders, scientists, Regional Council experts and others.
“Already, we are working with the primary sector and regional councils in the most at-risk catchments. I recently
visited the Aparima River in Southland where the farming community is leading a project to get all 600 land managers in
the catchment following better farming practices.”
Alongside work to tackle climate change, reduce waste, and protect our natural biodiversity, today’s release of the
freshwater work programme shows this Government is determined to protect our environment for future New Zealanders.
Damien O’Connor said New Zealanders all agree our natural resources must be used wisely.
“Primary sectors are crucial to an environmentally-sustainable, high-value economy that supports the wellbeing of all
New Zealanders. This is why we must grow a sustainable and productive primary sector within environmental limits.
“Many in the sector are already working hard to protect the natural resources they depend on, and recognise the
importance of enhancing our reputation as a trusted producer of the finest food and fibre products. The workstreams set
out today recognise the importance of accelerating this good work.”
The documents Essential Freshwater and Shared interests in Freshwater can be read on the Ministry for the Environment
website at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/fresh-water/essential-freshwater-agenda
The work programme will deliver:
Targeted action and investment in at-risk catchments, including accelerating the implementation of Good Farming Practice
Principles and identifying options for tree planting through the One Billion Trees programme.
A new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management by 2020, to ensure all aspects of ecosystem health are
managed, and address risks, for example by providing greater direction on how to set limits on resource use, and better
protection of wetlands and estuaries.
A new National Environmental Standard for Freshwater Management by 2020, to regulate activities that put water quality
at risk, such as intensive winter grazing, hill country cropping and feedlots.
Amendments to the Resource Management Act within the next 12 months to review consents in order to more quickly
implement water quality and quantity limits; and to strengthen enforcement tools for improving environmental compliance.
Decisions on how to manage allocation of nutrient discharges, informed by discussion and engagement with interested
Involvement of interested parties in testing and advising on policy options through a network of advisory groups; Kahui
Wai Māori, the Science and Technical Advisory Group, and the Freshwater Leaders Group.
Kahui Wai Māori will bring a broad Māori perspective. Its members are: Kingi Smiler (chair); Dr James Ataria;
Mahina-a-rangi Joy Baker; Riki Ellison; Traci Houpapa; Dr Tanira Kingi; Paul Morgan; Millan Ruka; Prof Jacinta Ruru; Hon
Dover Samuels; Annette Sykes.
The Freshwater Leaders Group have been appointed because of their personal experience and commitment, not as
representatives of any organisations. They will bring a wide range of views to the table. Its members are: John Penno
(chair); Mandy Bell; Alison Dewes; Graeme Gleeson; Traci Houpapa; Stephanie Howard; Tom Lambie; Bryce Johnson; Corina
Jordan; Allen Lim; Dr Hugh Logan; Marnie Prickett; Dr Marc Schallenberg; Lees Seymour; Prof Nicola Shadbolt; Gary
The Science and Technical Advisory Group will ensure science is accurately interpreted and incorporated into the policy
process. Its members are: Ken Taylor (chair) Dr Adam Canning; Dr Bryce Cooper; Dr Clive Howard-Williams; Dr Chris
Daughney; Dr Bev Clarkson; Graham Sevicke-Jones; Prof Ian Hawes; Prof Jenny Webster-Brown; Dr Joanne Clapcott; Dr Jon
Roygard; Dr Marc Schallenberg; Dr Mike Joy; Prof. Russell Death.