Freshwater Management
Operating at the forefront of freshwater management
Wynn Williams’ specialist team in Resource Management and Environmental Law is leading the way in freshwater management with their innovative and pragmatic approach.

Wynn Williams' Resource Management and Environmental team operates at the forefront of freshwater management planning in New Zealand. Renowned for their expertise as specialist legal advisors to regional councils, the team has successfully managed complex freshwater planning projects from inception through to resolution of appeals, as part of councils' requirement to give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This involves strategic advice on all aspects of the planning process.  Wynn Williams has a high degree of technical knowledge with respect to water quantity and water quality issues. 

Wynn Williams' Resource Management and Environmental Team are leading innovative approaches to dealing with freshwater management. The Team has been heavily involved in finding solutions to address water allocation and water quality issues, and in the application of various nutrient management tools in regional plans.  Having worked with regional and territorial authorities, the team has extensive experience in the implementation of higher order policy documents, including the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and its National Objectives Framework.  

Freshwater management affects a wide range of industries, stakeholders, interest groups, local authorities and the community.  The team is adept at handling all water management issues as a result of their broad experience and knowledge base.
We can assist with the following:




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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Take 19 – another Resource Management Amendment Act

Last week the Minister for the Environment, Hon David Parker, introduced the Resource Management Amendment Bill (Bill) to the house. The Bill proposes to repeal a number of the changes to the RMA that were introduced by the previous coalition Government in the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA) and otherwise includes some easy ‘wins’ for this Government.

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Fresh plans for freshwater – Government proposes reform

Freshwater management has been a long-standing political hot potato. Regional councils around the country have been busy ensuring they fulfil their functions in relation to water quality and water quantity, and implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) (in its various forms) since its introduction in 2011. On 5 September 2019, the Government released its “Action for Healthy Waterways” discussion document for consultation.

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Change continues in resource management law: what’s coming in 2019?

2018 produced and foreshadowed a number of important changes in the resource management and environmental space. 2019 looks set to provide a raft of further changes. Most people are back at work now and gearing up for the year ahead – what better time to reflect on what 2018 brought and look ahead at some of the things we know are coming in 2019.

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Further changes to the management of freshwater in NZ

The Government has announced its plan to tackle water quality issues in New Zealand, with a focus on stopping further degradation and loss, reversing past damage, and addressing water allocation issues.

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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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Changes to freshwater management

Today the Government announced a suite of further freshwater management reforms. The headline change is a new target that 90 per cent of New Zealand's lakes and rivers meet swimmable water quality standards by 2040.

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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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Next steps for Fresh Water: Consultation Document

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 freshwater bodies.

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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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Summary of Decisions Requested on Proposed Plans - the Importance of Getting it Right

Many local authorities around the country are in the process of reviewing regional and district plans, prior to notifying proposed new versions of those documents.  Interested persons will be able to lodge submissions and further submissions on the proposed plans.

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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.

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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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