New freshwater policies welcomed

We have welcomed the gazetting of a new freshwater policy package announced today by the Government.

Chair Jenny Hughey said this step was the culmination of a long period of effort put in by the Government and many others.

“We will now concentrate on implementing the new National Environmental Standard for Freshwater and stock exclusion regulations, and the revised National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management,” Chair Hughey said.

New policies to be implemented immediately

Chair Hughey explained that the policies need to be implemented immediately because the National Environmental Standard will become law on 3 September 2020, although timeframes in terms of the impact of particular measures on the community may vary.

“We are well on the way as we have an adaptable consenting process and our community is accustomed to considering the impact of their activities on water quality outcomes," Chair Hughey said.

Freshwater planning documents to be examined

"We will also be examining our freshwater planning documents to accommodate the revised National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management within the timeframes set," Chair Hughey said.

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy has given us the platform to build from and we have been actively engaged in the issues covered by these policies through this platform and several years of freshwater planning.

"Our communities - particularly our farmers - have contributed to and engaged on freshwater issues for a long time," Chair Hughey said.

Support from Water Zone Committees and the community

Our 10 Water Zone Committees have been working hard on catchment-specific approaches towards improved water quality, many of which are now included in sub-region plan changes to the Land & Water Regional Plan.

The Committees are also supporting a range of on-the-ground actions to help achieve the water quality outcomes local communities are demanding - for example:

  • auditable farm environment plans
  • strict nutrient limits
  • improved stormwater management
  • and stock exclusion from waterways.

“We acknowledge the hard work of farmers and the wider community to reduce their nutrient outputs and improve ecosystem health in our rivers, particularly in these difficult times,” Chair Hughey concluded.

“In Canterbury we are well on the way towards achieving what the Government is asking, but there is still much to do.”

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