Environment Minister David Parker says clean water is NZ’s birthright and local rivers and lakes should be clean enough for our children to swim in, and put their head under, ‘without getting crook’

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The Government has announced new rules will be in place by 2020 to better regulate water use and improve the state of the country’s waterways.

Environment Minister David Parker says the Government is 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,” he 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 future generations.”

The Government has committed to the following:

  • 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 parties.
  • 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.

More to come…

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