The Government is currently seeking feedback on its proposed
changes to the way fresh water is managed. A consultation document
published last month acknowledges the multitude of pressures on
fresh water resources such as the discharge of pollutants, erosion,
the effects of climate change and irrigation. Such pressures have
led to declining water quality and over-allocation in many
Changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater
Management 2014 (NPS)
Overall quality of fresh water
Objective A2 in the NPS currently provides that the overall
quality of fresh water within a region is maintained or
It is proposed that this objective apply to fresh water
management units, rather than across a region. This change is seen
to align better with the rest of the NPS that relates to fresh
water management units. Further, under the proposals, councils will
satisfy Objective A2 if they ensure water attributes remain within
their current measureable bands under the National Objectives
Framework. Where a local or national value does not have defined
bands, such as recreational fishing, councils will need to
demonstrate that the value is no worse off.
Other proposed amendments to the NPS include:
information gathering when considering exceptions to national
bottom lines for catchments with significant infrastructure;
using the macroinvertebrate community index as the mandatory
method of monitoring ecosystem health;
applying water quality standards to intermittently closing and
opening lakes and lagoons;
providing direction on transitional water bodies that do not
meet national bottom lines; and
inclusion of a purpose statement on Te Mana o te Wai and its
importance to fresh water management.
Stock exclusion from water bodies
The Government proposes to introduce rules (via regulation) to
prevent stock from entering certain types of water bodies including
streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Certain water bodies are not
captured and further details are contained in the consultation
Permanent fencing will be required unless there is a natural
barrier. Temporary fencing will be allowed where appropriate.
Exclusion rules will be rolled out in a staged process, depending
on the type of stock and the land involved.
Proposed deadlines for stock to be excluded from water
We have set out some examples of how the MERCP Act impacts resource exploration and production, and what you need to do.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).