Healthy water to drink, gather kai, and swim in

The Green Party will restore and sustain the health of our awa, streams, and lakes.

Many of us will remember growing up swimming in some of our most beautiful water spots, and want the same for our mokopuna. But far too many of our lakes, rivers and streams are now unswimmable.

Our freshwater is also under serious threat from polluting industries, such as intensive dairy businesses and forest logging. Three quarters of native freshwater fish species that depend on clean rivers, lakes, wetlands, and estuaries are threatened with extinction.

Our awa, lakes, wetlands and estuaries are taonga – and must be treated as such. But previous governments have failed to take the action we need to protect our waterways.

In failing our fresh water, they failed Aotearoa. Our plan will restore, replenish and sustain our precious freshwater by preventing pollution, restoring our damaged ecosystems and supporting iwi and hapū leadership.

The time is now to make sure future generations have access to healthy rivers and lakes they can swim in, gather kai from, and drink from.

Our plan

  • Ensure regulatory frameworks for water management implement Te Mana o te Wai with measures and funding to give effect to tino rangatiratanga of iwi and hapū over waterways in their rohe.
  • Protect all remaining natural wetlands and increase funding for their restoration, including estuaries and coastal wetlands, while providing for customary use of wetlands by Māori.
  • Provide funding to support councils to implement a ‘room for rivers’ approach – reclaiming and restoring floodplains and allowing our braided rivers to take their natural course.
  • Ensure Taumata Arowai has the resources and mandate to be involved in land use planning and consenting to prevent activities that degrade water sources.
  • Strengthen regulation of nitrogen in waterways, particularly drinking water sources, including by implementing a dissolved inorganic nitrogen limit, and phasing out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.
  • Work to restore degraded waterways through preventing land uses that lead to pollution, and proactively controlling freshwater pest species.
  • Create a fair system for commercial water allocation that protects healthy flow levels of waterways, while opposing large-scale irrigation projects.

You can find our full manifesto here.