National Objectives Framework for Freshwater
Update - National policy statement on freshwater management. The Minister for the Environment has introduced changes to the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management to introduce some national standards.
Despite the overwhelming number of submissions, advice from the Land and Water Forum and scientific and multi-sectoral working groups and detailed consideration of these issues in legal cases which set higher standards including the Horizons One Plan and the Ruataniwha, the changes announced will not require regional councils to provide swimmable, fishable waters which are safe for food gathering.
The national standards set the bar far too low!
Despite your submissions, nitrate bottom line levels are now set where the effects would be approaching toxic levels for sensitive fish like trout.
Life supporting capacity does not include measures to protect healthy insect communities which support the trout fisheries, whilst protections specific to wetlands and estuaries have been left out for now.
Key factors influencing aquatic life like oxygen levels and temperature are not included.
Regional councils will be implementing these standards through the limits set in their catchment-based regional plans.
You will need to remain vigilant to ensure that the standards imposed under this NPS do deliver freshwaters which are environmentally healthy and safe for human use and contact.
Instead of being addressed once nationally, much of the detail will need to be argued in each catchment.
It will be crucial to ensure that councils know which waters are important for fish, wildlife and anglers and hunters.
This will involve all of us in our local areas if we want waters to remain healthy.
You can find further information on the proposal on the Ministry for the Environment website here.