Regional and unitary councils have welcomed the announcement of the Government’s new work programme to further improve the quality of freshwater in New Zealand.
“Regional and unitary councils have been working hard to implement the NPS for freshwater management, and we’ve made good progress so far,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull. “This refresh of the regulations will further enable us to deliver on the freshwater quality that our communities deserve.”
Mayor of Nelson City Council and spokesperson for LGNZ’s Regional Sector, Rachel Reese, thanked the Government for the collaborative and open way in which it has worked with regional councils to develop the new package of reforms. Minister Parker invited the Regional Sector to put forward it’s priorities for improving freshwater management and these have been taken on board in the proposal released.
“Regional and unitary councils are on the frontline when it comes to managing and regulating freshwater. One of our main challenges has been ensuring national policy direction takes better account of practical, implementation issues. The Minister has been responsive in recognising this challenge while developing a progress package of responses to improve freshwater outcomes for New Zealand,” says Ms Reese.
“We’ve advocated strongly for changes that are needed to make real progress, which is why we’re so pleased that the Government has been open to our regulatory ideas around freshwater management.”
“This is a great example of how central government, as a policy making body, and local government, as the implementer of policy, can work together to tackle complex legacy problems like the freshwater challenge in New Zealand.”
LGNZ also welcomed the focus on Māori rights in the freshwater space, where access to water has constrained the ability to develop Māori-owned land.
“All New Zealanders recognise the inherent value of managing freshwater sustainably so that future generations can enjoy this priceless resource,” says Mr Cull. “It is great to see positive, practical steps being put in place to achieve this.”