Nearly all New Zealander's are concerned about the future quality of our freshwater. On 3 July 2014 the Government released the new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM). This policy includes practical measures needed in order to improve the water quality of New Zealand's freshwater bodies.
The policy reflects the outcomes of the recent Land & Water Forum which involved all freshwater stakeholders including regulators, industry and environmental groups. The forum produced a series of recommendations.
A key feature of the NPS-FM is the requirement for regional councils to amend (or create) plans for freshwater management. They must include the methods they will use to achieve the objectives of the NPS-FM which are aimed at maintaining or enhancing freshwater quality and the efficiency of freshwater use.
One controversial aspect of the policy is the standard for human exposure which has been set at a level considered acceptable for “secondary contact” (including wading and boating). This falls short of the target sought by many submitters of “swim-ability” and is an acknowledgment that a higher standard may already be unattainable in some freshwater bodies.
The standards and the targets set are meant to reflect both the current state and to promote enhancement of freshwater bodies where possible.
If you have an interest in the setting of freshwater standards and targets by your regional council and would like to make a submission on any proposed plan change, Cavell Leitch’s resource management team are genuine experts in this field and would be happy to assist.
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