From the maunga to moana, water is a taonga which must be protected, but too many rivers, lakes, and wetlands have been polluted over the years, and river flows have fallen below healthy levels. At the same time, climate change disrupts rainfall patterns, putting rivers at risk from both drought and flooding.
Change is happening. The Government has introduced the strongest ever water reforms. For the first time, rules for water will prioritise ecosystem baselines and Māori cultural values. These changes mean water quality will improve over time, restoring our lakes, rivers and wetlands so people can swim safely, and freshwater species can thrive.
Now that we’re making progress towards restoring rivers and streams, we need to fix the approach to water allocation and conservation. This means using water fairly and efficiently, within natural limits.
The Green Party will:
- Create a fair system for water allocation, with commercial users like water bottling companies paying a resource rental fee, and allocation phased down to sustainable levels. Iwi and hapū will be involved in designing a framework that recognises te mana o te wai Māori interests, prioritises ecological integrity, and protects food production.
- Uphold the kaitiaki, proprietary, and customary rights of iwi and hapū over water.
- Improve urban water quality and supply by funding green infrastructure, supporting home water storage, and requiring new buildings to include greywater recycling.
- Support farmers to reduce run-off and the need for irrigation. This will include on-farm water storage and distribution, to improve resilience to floods and droughts.
- Rehabilitate and protect wetlands, recognising this is an important part of climate change adaptation.
- Ensure regional councils have sufficient resources to properly implement Freshwater Farm Plans and the National Environmental Standard on Freshwater.
- Oppose large-scale irrigation projects that encourage intensive farming.
- Keep drinking water, stormwater, and sewerage infrastructure under public control.
- Ensure nitrogen limits are based on the best science.