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Water - Policy Summary

Eugenie Sage MP
Eugenie Sage MP
eugenie [dot] sage [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

Read the full Water Policy

Water, which is vital to us all, is a taonga and a public good.

We believe that our freshwater should be clean, so that our children can swim and fish in our rivers, and so that our unique freshwater biodiversity can flourish.

Water is a mainstay of our economy, and we would protect this precious resource from pollution and ensure that water extraction always leaves enough for the fish and birds.

Furthermore, we would keep key decisions about urban water supply, assets and operations under the control of elected bodies and protect New Zealanders' right to access a safe and secure supply of high quality, affordable water for drinking and sanitation.

Key Principles

  • Water is a taonga and a public good.
  • All water use must be sustainable and water conservation encouraged.
  • Water extraction will not exceed the natural rate of replenishment.
  • Water management must be on an integrated catchment basis extending from the mountains to the sea.
  • Everyone has the right of access to a safe, secure supply of high quality, affordable water for drinking and sanitation.
  • Domestic water supply must remain in, or be returned to, public ownership.

Specific Policy Points

  • Key decisions about urban water supply, assets and operations must remain under the control of elected bodies.
  • Support councils to use water meters to monitor and record water use in residences and commercial properties, for educational purposes, to promote water conservation, and demand side management.
  • Community education programmes to encourage water conservation.
  • Amend the National Policy Statement on water so that it includes specific targets and time frames for water quality.
  • Encourage councils to require land use resource consents for conversion to dairying or intensification of land use, and to set limits on nitrogen and phosphate run-off.
  • Encourage waste water disposal to land rather than to water, where slope, soil type and other conditions are appropriate.
  • Encourage councils to consult with local groups to develop sustainable biosolids strategies.
  • Require councils to keep storm water and waste water separate.
  • Establish a contestable fund to support sustainable land management practices on farms (eg nutrient budgeting, riparian planting, conversion to woodlots), to be funded by a levy on nitrogen and phosphate fertilisers and matched dollar for dollar by government.
  • Encourage councils to provide for the safe disposal of liquid wastes (eg oil and paint) so they don't pollute waterways through stormwater drains.
  • Reduce the impact of roading and transport on water quality by establishing silt traps and filtration for water run-off along major roadways.
  • Raise standards for trade waste that goes into ordinary sewers.
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