web analytics

The Freshwater Rescue Plan

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, June 10th, 2017 - 12 comments
Categories: Conservation, disaster, Economy, election 2017, Environment, farming, Maori Issues, sustainability, water - Tags: ,

Meanwhile, back in NZ, a league of concerned scientists and groups has come up with a bold, no nonsense plan to do the right thing by our freshwater.

From RNZ

A cross-sector group says successive governments’ inaction on degraded waterways has spurred them to come together to forge a new plan for freshwater.

The organisations include Forest and Bird, Fish and Game, Choose Clean Water, Greenpeace, Tourism Export Council and the Federated Mountain Clubs.

Their Freshwater Rescue Plan lays out seven steps for future governments to follow if they want to be serious about saving the country’s lakes and rivers.


The Plan.

The Freshwater Rescue Plan launch (video starts at 7 min 20)

A unique moment and an opportunity for change.

We don’t need any more reports, so here is a seven step plan on what the government can do immediately to save our freshwater. This is for all political parties. Whoever takes over in September can work with this plan.


From Scoop

This plan is backed by leaders from major tourism, public health, conservation, environmental and recreation organisations, and experts in ecology, public health, and Māori, Pacific and Indigenous studies.

The organizations who put this together hope that all parties can commit to the Freshwater Rescue Plan so that the elected Government in September can take immediate action to restore New Zealand’s rivers and lakes.

From Stuff

Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson said he had never been involved in such a plan in his 30 years with the group.

“The issue has got so serious that everyone is circling the wagons,” he said.

“The environmental groups and the agencies interested from a passive perspective are the ones actually doing the hard yards in terms of the advocacy, it’s not central Government. It’s a really sad indictment for a country reliant on its natural resources.”

Supporters of the Plan

Forest and Bird

Fish and Game

Choose Clean Water

Federated Mountain Clubs


Tourism Export Council

Public Health Association of NZ

Ora Taiao NZ Climate and Health Council

Fresh Water Foundation

Professor Russell Death,  freshwater ecology, Massey University.

Dr Michael Baker, professor of public health medicine, Otago University.

Dr Alex MacMillan, New Zealand Climate and Health Council.

Professor Paul Tapsell, School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, Otago University.

Dr Dan Hikuroa, Earth Systems science and mātauranga Māori, University of Auckland.


12 comments on “The Freshwater Rescue Plan ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    A realistic set of points and so we can be assured that National and their cult followers in delusion will ignore and denigrate them.

  2. Couple this development with this report:
    and we are seeing a pattern of significant change. Though it sticks in the craw, don’t paint the “others” with too broad a brush; there’s a lot of movement inside of the industry; recognise it when it appears and help it flourish. The “top” will be the last to move, but if we fixate on those figures, we’ll disable ourselves where otherwise we could be drivers. The Freshwater Rescue plan is a powerful development.

    • bwaghorn 2.1

      good words Mr Guyton,use facts and patience ,anything else just smells like wedge politics,

    • weka 2.2

      Very true. I also like that the Plan is unequivocal about what needs to happen. Farmers need to be supported in that change, but there’s no mucking around now with tinkering on the edges.

  3. Grant Henderson 3

    Just like the “Save Manapouri” campaign from the 1970s – the people do what the political invertebrates in Wellington are too scared or incompetent to do.

  4. Ad 4

    Looks the Fresh Water Forum revived well. I support this effort.

    Can’t wait for that Ruataniwa Dam decision to come out before the election.

  5. Jenny Kirk 5

    And immediately following that announcement, came the Labour Party policy on freshwater management. Yesterday at 5pm. NZ Herald. Not a “me too” ….. Labour has been working on the issue for some time – going right back to 2008 or earlier.
    The point about auditing regional councils is really good : too many regional councils have just ignored any requirements to monitor, prosecute, or reduce the amount of cattle wandering into unfenced rivers and streams.

    Quote from Herald – 9.6.2017


    Labour would make it tougher for farms to intensify operations under a 12-point freshwater policy launched in Havelock North this evening.

    The party’s policy seeks to crack down harder on polluters, make all rivers and lakes swimmable and extend freshwater quality standards.
    Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith has criticised the policy as “vague” and says it “fails to pass the fairness test”.

    At the policy’s core is a new National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management, based on principles recommended eight years ago by former head Environment Court Judge David Sheppard.

    Under the NPS, any further increases in farming intensity, including more livestock, irrigation or fertiliser per hectare, would no longer be a “permitted activity”.

    “So if you are going to turn an ordinary piece of pasture into a feedlot, or a low density farm into a high density farm with food supplements or irrigation, you’ll need a resource consent – and sometimes you won’t get it,” Labour environment spokesperson David Parker said.

    The new NPS would also require rivers and lakes be clean enough for people to swim in during summer without getting sick.

    Parker said more than 60 per cent of monitored freshwater sites were graded poor to very poor for swimming, while, since 2008, stress from dairy farming had worsened, with an additional million dairy cows producing the equivalent waste of 14 million humans.

    The party would adopt freshwater quality standards that covered pathogens, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, periphyton and macroinvertebrate health, with bottom lines to reduce diffuse pollution of freshwater by set deadlines.
    Labour would require all intensively stocked land near waterways to be fenced off within five years, and fund either the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) or the Environmental Protection Authority to enforce the law by prosecuting breaches of the Resource Management Act through local Crown solicitors, including the right to reclaim costs from the guilty party and the regional council.

    Further, the Audit Office would be ordered to audit annually every regional council as to whether they were properly carrying out their legal responsibilities to protect freshwater, Parker said.

    Each regional council would be made to report annually to MFE on whether, and how, city or district council rules within the region were adequate to protect waterways.

    “Some regional councils have been farmer dominated and they’ve never been given a budget for their staff to prosecute – therefore their plan is not enforced,” Parker said.

    “I know that people are really pissed off that their rivers are being wrecked by some irresponsible farmers – and they want their politicians to help fix it.”

    To prevent the extinction of freshwater species, the party would also consider whether a moratorium on commercial fishing was needed.
    “We’ll really give it serious consideration because it’s terrible that we’ve got some of our native species threatened with extinction,” he said.
    “But I think in the end the bigger cure here is water quality.”

    [link and formatting added – weka]

    • Ad 5.1

      Good timing from Labour there.
      And good policy.

      The big addition from central government needs to be carrot as well as stick:

      If regional councils have measurable improvements, they should get fat central government cash to accelerate those improvements.

    • weka 5.2

      I also think the timing is good, which suggests that there was some co-operation between various interested parties (likewise the Greens).

      It would be good if Labour comms could start updating their website when they release policy. I can’t find it there, but have tweeted them.

    • Ad 5.3

      In a joint statement, Greenpeace, Tourism Export Council of NZ, Fish & Game, Forest & Bird, and Choose Clean Water make it very clear that the Labour policy on fresh water and clean streams is far superior to Nationals’:


      ..but there is more detail that they want to see.
      The group also want an explicit commitment to reduce the total dairy herd.

      Looks like the common timing worked out well.

  6. ianmac 6

    What a great Plan. Hooray and congratulations. Hope those with the power act on it.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Protect seamounts and ban bottom trawling right now
    The Green Party is renewing its call for Minister for the Environment, David Parker to immediately ban bottom trawling on seamounts. ...
    18 hours ago
  • Building Auckland’s transport future
    We’re making sure Auckland has the infrastructure it needs for the future, so Aucklanders can get around safely and efficiently as our biggest city grows. The new, linked-up transport system we’re building will include partially tunnelled light rail between the CBD and the airport, as well as another Waitematā Harbour ...
    20 hours ago
  • Build Auckland light rail for benefit of everyone
    The Government’s decision on light rail in Auckland is the first step towards building the climate friendly, accessible city our communities deserve. ...
    20 hours ago
  • Put our most vulnerable first
    Don’t forget whānau and communities most at risk, says the Green Party, as the Government lays out its three-phase plan for Omicron. ...
    2 days ago
  • Boosting our immunity against Omicron
    With Omicron in the community, it’s vital we all do our bit to help to slow the spread, keep each other safe and protect our health system. One of the most important ways we can reduce the risk of Omicron is to get a booster dose as soon as we’re ...
    3 days ago
  • Equitable response to Omicron vital
    The Green Party supports the Government’s decision to move Aotearoa New Zealand to traffic light level Red at 11.59pm tonight, but says its success will depend on the support that is made available to the most vulnerable. ...
    6 days ago
  • How we’re preparing for Omicron
    As countries around the world experience Omicron outbreaks, we’re taking steps now to ensure we’re as prepared as possible and our communities are protected. ...
    1 week ago
  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Tupu Tai graduation-It’s time to step up
    Greetings: Kia orana, talofa lava, Noa’ia e mauri, malo e lelei, taloha ni, fakaalofa lahi atu, ni sa bula vinaka, talofa, kia ora, tena koutou katoa.  I would love to begin by acknowledging everyone here in attendance, especially the families and friends of the 2021/22 Tupu Tai cohort, and those ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Building and shaping a city: Future-proofing Auckland transport infrastructure
    The Government is bringing Auckland’s transport infrastructure into the future by moving forward with an additional Waitematā Harbour crossing, progressing light rail from Auckland’s CBD to the airport, and creating a linked-up rapid transport network as part of a 30-year plan. Key decisions on additional Waitematā Harbour crossing to be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Penguin rehab and native forest restoration get helping hand
    A long-running penguin rehab facility which has been hard hit by the tourism downturn, and work to restore native forest habitats in the Catlins are being supported through Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Otago’s Penguin Place and The Hokonui Rūnanga Catlins Biodiversity Project will receive combined ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Resilient economy reflected in Crown accounts
    The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect a resilient economy that has performed better than expected and puts the country in a strong position to respond to Omicron, Grant Robertson said. The Crown Accounts for the five months to the end of November were more favourable than forecast in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government announces three phase public health response to Omicron
    Reducing isolation period for cases and close contacts at Phase Two and Three to 10 and seven days Definition of close contact required to isolate changes to household or household like contacts at Phase Three Increased use of rapid antigen tests with test to return policy put in place for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Ambassador to Thailand announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Jonathan Kings as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Thailand. “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing relationship with Thailand, celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic representation between our countries in 2021. We also share much in common at regional and multilateral levels ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government’s Family Package continues to deliver for New Zealanders
    The Families Package helped around 330,000 families in its first year - more than half of all families with children in NZ These families received an estimated $55 per week more from Families Package payments in 2018/19 than in 2017/18, on average Families Package increases to the maximum possible Accommodation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand retains top spot in global anti-corruption rankings
    Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has welcomed news of New Zealand’s ongoing position as top in the world anti-corruption rankings. The 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index released by global anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, ranks New Zealand first equal with Denmark and Finland, with a score of 88 out of 100. “This is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Testing improvements see New Zealand well prepared for Omicron
    New Zealand’s PCR testing capacity can be increased by nearly 20,000 tests per day to deal with a surge in cases as part of our wider COVID-19 testing strategy, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. “We have continued to adapt our public health response to safeguard the health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 5,000 portable air cleaners for schools on their way
    As schools are preparing to return, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 5,000 air cleaners have been ordered for New Zealand schools. “As we know, along with vaccination, testing, good hygiene and physical distancing, good ventilation is important in minimising the risk of airborne transmission of the virus that causes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand to move to Red from 11.59pm today
    All of New Zealand will move to the Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) at 11:59pm today as Omicron is potentially now transmitting in the community, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. “Nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region are now confirmed as Omicron, and a further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mandatory boosters for key workforces progressing well
    More than 5,785 (82%) border workers eligible for a booster vaccination at 6 months have received it so far, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “That’s a really strong uptake considering we announced the requirement the week before Christmas, but we need to continue this momentum,” Chris Hipkins said. “We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to move to Red
    Nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region have now been confirmed as the Omicron variant, and a further case from the same household was confirmed late yesterday. These cases are in a single family that flew to Auckland on 13 January to attend a wedding and other events ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand to provide further help for Tonga
    Aotearoa New Zealand is giving an additional $2 million in humanitarian funding for Tonga as the country recovers from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. This brings Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution to $3 million. “This support will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Quarterly benefit numbers show highest number of exits into work
    The Government’s strong focus on supporting more people into work is reflected in benefit figures released today which show a year-on-year fall of around 21,300 people receiving a main benefit in the December 2021 quarter, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said. “Our response to COVID has helped ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Northland to move to Orange, NZ prepared for Omicron 
    Northland to move to Orange Rest of New Zealand stays at Orange in preparedness for Omicron All of New Zealand to move into Red in the event of Omicron community outbreak – no use of lockdowns Govt planning well advanced – new case management, close contact definition and testing rules ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • RNZAF C-130 Hercules flight departs for Tonga as Navy vessels draw nearer to Tongatapu
    A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules has departed Base Auckland Whenuapai for Tonga carrying aid supplies, as the New Zealand aid effort ramps up, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “The aircraft is carrying humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies, including water ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand prepared to send support to Tonga
    New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago