Thank you to everyone who took the opportunity to make a submission on the Government’s 'Action for Healthy Waterways' discussion document. Around seventeen and a half thousand submissions were received, reflecting much interest in the proposals.
From a democracy point of view, it is of great concern that several proposals point to the undermining of the democratic control of water, and include the intention to require local authorities to compulsorily include a vague and undefined set of values and interests in the management of the water bodies and freshwater ecosystems in their region.
An independent advisory panel is now reviewing the submissions. The panel is expected to provide recommendations to Ministers early next year on content and specific wording of the regulations. The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries will also provide advice to Ministers on feedback on the proposals from meetings and submissions, as well as options Ministers may want to consider. According to the Ministry for the Environment, it is expected the final decisions on new freshwater regulations will be made in the first half of next year, with a view to having the regulations in force by mid-year, including amendments to the RMA.
No doubt iwi leaders will be pushing hard to reserve places for themselves at the decision-making tables, and they may succeed unless we mobilise our voices. Although the official deadline for providing feedback has now passed, you can still contact MPs to have your say.
- David Parker: [email protected]
- Damien O’Connor: o'[email protected]
- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: [email protected]
- And your local MP
Policies released by NZ First in the lead up to the 2017 elections included the promise to remove all references to race from the RMA. Please remind NZ First MPs of this commitment. Their email addresses are:
A list of all MPs is available by clicking HERE
All of the information on the proposals – including the discussion document, the draft and proposed regulations, consultation updates, and more – can still be found on the consultation web page: https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultation/action-for-healthy-waterways
A summary is available here: https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Fresh%20water/action-for-healthy-waterways-summary.pdf
Media release by Ministers Parker and O’Connor available by clicking HERE