Protecting our wetlands
Environment Minister David Parker says “Wetlands are a precious taonga and must be protected, preserved and restored.”
“We have put in place the Essential Freshwater package of regulatory reforms which aims to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and restore our waterways to health within a generation. Strong wetland protection and measures to encourage regeneration are a key part of this,” David Parker said.
Funding, through the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, is supporting the implementation of the new regulations and the restoration and protection of wetlands around the country.
In 2020 the Government committed more than $64 million from Jobs for Nature towards council projects, many of which involve wetland restoration. This includes the Opuatia Wetlands Project in Waikato and the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands project.
Mr Parker says “The Government is committed to strong protection for our wetlands to recognise the valuable role they play and the large-scale loss of wetlands due to human activity.”
In 2020 the Government released the Essential Freshwater package which is a collection of national regulations to protect and improve all waterbodies, including wetlands. The package comprises:
- The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM 2020) includes new direction to regional councils to avoid the loss of extent of natural inland wetlands, protect their values and promote their restoration.
- The new regulations in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES) place restrictions on activities in and near natural wetlands, including coastal wetlands that will damage or destroy them. Certain activities are allowed but only where effects are managed in the following way: firstly avoided, minimised or remedied, with offsetting applied such as restoration/creation elsewhere on a ‘like for like’ basis.
- The Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020 mandate that certain stock must be excluded from natural wetlands in certain circumstances.