Water & Irrigation
Ensuring it's all done right
We advise industry and local government, including NZ’s largest Regional Council, on matters pertaining to the allocation of water, the processing of applications for resource consents, and the interpretation of consent conditions.

We regularly advise on:
  • the allocation of water under the Resource Management Act 1991, including flow regimes promulgated under regional plans
  • issues relating to water quality
  • prosecutions and defence of activities relating to water, and breaches of the RMA
  • the transfer of water permits from site to site
  • obtaining a reliable supply of water for economic (farming) use
  • assessing existing consents when advising on farm transactions




Essential freshwater – new rules released for freshwater management

On the eve of the house rising for the last time before the election, Government released the highly anticipated new national direction on freshwater management - a new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM 2020), new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NESFW), new stock exclusion regulations, and amendments to the regulations for the measurement and reporting of water takes.

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RMA refreshed? Changes to the Resource Management Act enacted

The Resource Management Amendment Act 2020 came into force this week. The amendments will have significant implications for local authorities, particularly in the freshwater and climate change space.

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Our Freshwater 2020: Government issues report examining pressing issues for freshwater

The Ministry for the Environment along with Stats NZ have released Our Freshwater 2020, summarising updates and reporting on progress on four priority freshwater issues. Our Freshwater 2020 is the latest report on the state of the environment required under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015 and builds on Our Freshwater 2017.

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Water, water everywhere - but not a drop to drink

Following the August 2016 outbreak of campylobacteriosis in Havelock North, the Government established an inquiry to investigate and report on the outbreak. The Stage One Report was released on 8 May 2017 and identified what happened, the cause of the outbreak and provided an assessment of the people and agencies responsible for providing safe drinking water to Havelock North.

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Amendments to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 provides national direction for the management of freshwater under the Resource Management Act 1991. On 7 August 2017, the Government announced amendments to the NPSFM which will come into force on 7 September 2017.

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Wellington Fish and Game Council v Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council [2017] NZEnvc 37 – summary of the One Plan Declarations

This decision of the Environment Court concerns an application for various declarations made by Wellington Fish and Game Council and the Environmental Defence Society Inc, that the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council has been failing to correctly implement the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Plan.

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Are More Changes Afoot for the Management of Freshwater Quality?

A recent hikoi and associated petition presented to Parliament this week highlights the increasing focus being given to the management of the quality of freshwater in New Zealand.

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A New Marine Protected Areas Act: Does More Flexibility Result In Better Protection?

In January 2016, the Ministers for Primary Industries, Conservation, and the Environment announced plans to improve the management of New Zealand's oceans by implementing a revised system of marine protected areas designed to improve and build upon management systems which already exist.

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The Changing Face of Water Management in Canterbury

Over the last ten years, the focus in Canterbury has been on getting water.  Now that water has been allocated, the focus is now moving to securing the reliability of that water and controlling the discharges associated with its use. This new focus is wider than just dairying, and includes the use of land for any primary production.

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Government casts rod on submissions for freshwater reform

In a jointly released initiative, the Minister for the Environment Amy Adams and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy have called for submissions on New Zealand's freshwater management regime.

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Successful Judicial Review proceedings for Akaroa Marine Protection Society

The Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society Inc (the "Society") made an application in 1995 seeking a marine reserve within the Akaroa Harbour. The Minister of Conservation (the "Minister") declined the application on the basis that the reserve would unduly interfere with or adversely affect existing recreational use of the area, particularly for recreational fishing.

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Priority and Notifiability of Applications for Consent - Central Plains Water

The Central Plains Water saga - all the way up to the Supreme Court, and this is just the preliminary
skirmishing. The hearing of CPW's application to take water for irrigation, by the Council's commissioners,
has not yet concluded - so appeals on the actual application are still just a twinkle in the parties' eyes.

Keep reading...

Reported Decisions

  • Aoraki Water Trust v Meridian Energy Ltd [2005] 2 NZLR 268

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Wynn Williams Christchurch
Level 5, Wynn Williams House, 47 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
PO Box 4341, DX WX11179, Christchurch 8140.
+64 3 379 7622
+64 3 379 2467
Wynn Williams Auckland
Level 25, Vero Centre, 48 Shortland Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.
PO Box 2401, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140.
+64 9 300 2600
+64 9 300 2609

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