As the dust begins to settle
over the COVID-19 crisis, New Zealand has an opportunity to address another
critical national challenge: the future of freshwater.
A new report by law firm Bell
Gully released during Visionweek highlights current freshwater issues and looks
at where the key to cleaner water might be found in a sector grappling with complex
relationships between the agricultural sector, iwi, government and other
lead author of The Big Picture: Freshwater, and partner in Bell Gully’s environment and resource
management practice, said New Zealand
requires integrated solutions around freshwater, solutions that provide
economic pathways for iwi, farmers and others to make a living in a way compatible
with the environment.
She points to signs the current
system lacks the integration needed. “That is evident when you consider the
hundreds of millions of dollars spent on policy and freshwater management plans,
while very little is directed at supporting the behaviour change that is
required to deliver meaningful outcomes,” she said.
The report examines how some
farming communities both in New Zealand and elsewhere in the world are finding
solutions in collaborative value chains and systems that create premiums from
environmental wins. “The key will be to ensure the value created is passed
along to incentivise those tasked with improving our freshwater,” Natasha said.
She says change is also needed
in the legal framework governing the sector. “Our legal framework must support
new economic models, rather than undermining them or hampering their
The report also looks at how some are exploring technology
solutions, details how freshwater rights are currently allocated and highlights
how the Resource Management Act is currently applied around freshwater.
The Big Picture:
Freshwater was released for Infrastructure New Zealand’s Visionweek – a
virtual event discussing New Zealand’s future across numerous areas including
business, health and science.
Click below to read the report, or download here.