New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater have passed into law.
This includes the new National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management (NPS-FM), National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-FW), stock exclusion regulations, and regulations in the measurement and reporting of water takes.
Significant policies that now have legal backing include:
- Requiring councils to give effect to Te Mana o Te Wai by prioritising the health and wellbeing of our waterways
- Halting further loss of natural wetlands and streams
- Setting higher health standards at swimming spots
- Putting controls on high-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feedlots
- Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health
- Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams
- Preserving and restoring the connectivity of New Zealand fish species’ habitats
- Requiring mandatory and enforceable farm environment plans
- Making real-time measuring and reporting of data on water use mandatory.
Some of the new rules will take immediate effect (from 3 September), while there is a longer timeframe for others. Supporting the changes is the faster planning process for regional councils to speed up implementation of the NPS-FM, made law in June through the Resource Management Amendment Act.