The Land and Water Forum is to be congratulated for a comprehensive third report that has the buy-in of most interested parties and provides a strong path forward for the management of freshwater in New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“The Land and Water Forum’s collaborative process takes into account the views of 58 interest groups and yet has managed to produce a comprehensive way forward for the best use of our water. While not everyone will agree with every recommendation it is an excellent basis for further action.
“Labour strongly supports the idea of integrated catchment management that sees water put to its best use for the community, that sets clear limits at the plan level and that ensures water quality is considered alongside allocation decisions.
“The report does not explicitly advocate resource rentals for water, but does allow for a regime that would see a fair price paid by major users. Labour continues to believe such a mechanism should be developed in consultation with all relevant parties.
“The recommendation of national standards to guide catchment plans is a vital and positive recommendation. This will ensure a national consistent, locally sustainable freshwater management regime. The collaborative process used by the Forum has been fruitful and provides a clear process for further decision making at the local level.
“The ball is now firmly in the Government’s court. It needs to pick up the momentum generated by the Forum. A continuation of the stony silence from the Government that greeted the Forum’s second report must not continue.
“Its recent actions in abandoning our commitments to climate change and ignoring reports on green growth do not bode well, however.
“New Zealanders need to know that this Government is serious about sustainable water management and they should respond to the report as a matter of urgency.”