Sharechat Logo

Land and Water Forum - a nine year experiment in consensus-making - bows out

Tuesday 26th June 2018

Text too small?

A nine-year exercise in experimental consensus-building among habitual combatants, the Land and Water Forum, is putting itself "into abeyance" and calling for the creation of a new government agency, a Land and Water Commission, to "provide national direction and oversight" it says is required to bring urgency to cleaning up New Zealand's freshwater bodies.

A recommendation in its final and fifth report since 2009 has been accorded immediate priority by Environment and Primary Industries Ministers David Parker and Damien O'Connor, who said efforts to properly pool poorly shared information on freshwater catchments at a national level would begin immediately.

"We welcome the recommendation to identify 'at-risk' catchments, ensure plans are in place for those catchments and take action where necessary," they said. While regional councils held a lot of information, "there is no national picture", the ministers said. 

"The joint Ministry for the Environment/Ministry of Primary Industries Water Directorate will work with regional councils to pull this information together."

The Environmental Defence Society, which was present at LAWF's birth as a creature of former Environment Minister Nick Smith's attempts to cut through competing interests in the long-vexed management of freshwater, said the report's "most important recommendation" was the establishment of a Land and Water Commission to "provide national direction and oversight".

"There is also a critical role for the Ministry for the Environment, with the Forum recommending the use of prohibited activity status or moratoria to 'stop the rot' in catchments where water quality is dire and councils aren't acting fast enough," EDS chief executive Gary Taylor said in a statement.

He said the report left unaddressed "consents for intensification", which matter because "in most catchments consent for both existing and new intensive land uses impacting fresh water will be required". 

"Without this, it is extremely difficult for councils to account for and control the amount of contaminants entering waterways."

Parker noted that "the Forum was unable to reach agreement on the allocation of nutrient discharge rights in polluted catchments".

A spokesman for Parker's office said that meant "now it's in the government's court to regulate".

In its first report to the new coalition government, LAWF recommended consideration of regulating to enforce Good Farming Practice standards, which currently operate as guidelines.

"The government is already working with both urban and rural stakeholders on good management practices, and will consider the Forum's recommendations," O'Connor said.


  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

NZ dollar trades near 2019 low on Aussie rate outlook, China worries
Short window left to lock in good interest rates on term deposits
MediaWorks breakeven stymied by radio
Loan-to-value restrictions effective but have some drawbacks - RBNZ
Yili deal a timely cash injection for Westland farmers - ANZ
AFT interested in medicinal cannabis but says it's not commercially viable yet
Serko chalks up another year of 28% sales growth, profit dips on acquisition adjustment
NZ first-quarter retail sales grow 0.7%, slightly better than expected
SkyCity poised to enter online gaming space
AFT narrows net loss, turns cash flow positive

IRG See IRG research reports