Freshwater Management Policy Gives Growers Hope

03 Jul 2014

Horticulture New Zealand is looking forward to a time when all regional councils will manage their waterways in the same way, thanks to today’s release of the new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management,

This should mean a simpler, cheaper and more efficient nationwide management system for growers to work with, HortNZ president Julian Raine says.

“All the 5500 commercial fruit and vegetable growers we represent look forward to the day when this country’s regional councils can be relied on to regulate waterways and lakes using similar processes.

“Up until now, this has been a forlorn hope.”

The NPS includes the ‘National Objectives Framework’ which is this country’s first attempt at setting real values, guidelines and figures around our freshwater use.

“Limits will be set by communities, for themselves. Communities must weigh up how they want to manage the environmental and economic impacts of the choices they make.”

The big highlight for HortNZ in the NOF is the inclusion of the value of food production as something communities must consider when deciding how their water is used.

“This is an outstanding outcome for us. It is so very important for regulators to see the need for securing the future of viable and sustainable food production, for all of us,” Julian says.

HortNZ and growers are totally committed to working with their communities to set limits which will ensure industry growth can be managed and environmental qualities can be preserved.

HortNZ believes there are a couple of areas where it will be challenging for communities to make decisions, particularly given the lack of appropriate science and research required.

“We also have a concern over the ability of some water users to try to get an exemption to this process, by applying to be an ‘exception’ to the policy.

“HortNZ believes everyone has to take responsibility for water quality in New Zealand. There should be no exceptions, no exemptions” Julian says.