Green involvement in water quality, rangatira and kaitiaki rights

Although Labour’s Environment Minister David Parker introduced Action announced for “a noticeable improvement in water quality” this is a big deal for the Green Party, who ensured water quality would be addressed in their Confidence and Supply Agreement with Labour.

Under ‘Sustainable Economy’:

5. Provide assistance to the agricultural sector to reduce biological emissions, improve water quality, and shift to more diverse and sustainable land use including more forestry

Under ‘Healthy Environment’:

7. Improve water quality and prioritise achieving healthy rivers, lakes and aquifers with stronger regulatory instruments, funding for freshwater enhancement and winding down Government support for irrigation.

a. The Resource Management Act will be better enforced.

I can’t find much on this in the media, but Green co-leader Marama Davidson said this via email – not surprisingly and justifiably Greens see this as a win for them:

Our streams, rivers, and lakes are precious to all of us. Freshwater is the lifeblood of our communities. That’s why we’re pleased that today the Government is continuing work to deliver on the Green Party’s commitment to clean up our rivers so they’re clean and healthy for our kids and grandkids.

The Green Party have long championed cleaning up our waterways and protecting them from pollution.

Russel Norman spent a summer kayaking several awa highlighting the growing pollution. When National slashed the freshwater standards Catherine Delahunty toured the country to restore them, and last year we made rivers a priority in the 2017 election campaign.

Together, we’ve put cleaning up our rivers on the political agenda. And today, with the Greens at the heart of Government, we’re making tangible progress.

As part of our agreement with Labour, we’ve secured prioritising healthy rivers, lakes, and aquifers.

Because of that, today the Government is announcing:

  • A comprehensive work programme to clean up our most at-risk catchments
  • Strengthening the National Policy Statement on freshwater
  • A new environmental standard to protect water
  • Improvements to the RMA
  • Beginning work on catchment-by-catchment allocations

We’ve still got a long journey ahead to make our rivers healthy and safe to swim in. But, today’s announcement shows this government is flowing in the right direction.

However, a key area that we think needs strengthening is to properly recognise that Māori have rangatira and kaitiaki rights over water, as guaranteed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We’ll continue to push for this to be honoured.

Protecting the environment and recognising Māori rights go hand-in-hand.

Leave a comment


  1. robertguyton

     /  9th October 2018

    More strong results for The Greens – you know, the party many here claim are having no successes in Government. Green ideals and policies are shaping our world now. Whether you like that or not is of no consequence to the fact that New Zealand is Greening-up!

    • If they play a part in improving water quality then good on the Greens – that’s something they are likely to get widespread credit and support for, if the Government can deliver. Parker’s expressed goals were quite vague.

      They will be helped by plans already in place to improve water quality – many farmers are already working towards this.

      • robertguyton

         /  9th October 2018

        Parker’s delivered the scene-setter. When the actions come, we’ll have plenty to write about here, and we’ll be referring to the farming rags more than we do now!

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  9th October 2018

          I don’t believe that anyone has more rights over water than anyone else, especially if they don’t take responsibility as well. It comes from the sky, nobody has ownership.

          Will Maori be liable for flood damage done by the water they have sovereignty over?

  2. Corky

     /  9th October 2018

    ”However, a key area that we think needs strengthening is to properly recognise that Māori have rangatira and kaitiaki rights over water, as guaranteed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We’ll continue to push for this to be honoured.”

    That push will end in 2020. But will it? National excluded the public from many of its consultations and legislative drives with Maori during their term in office.

    A disaster waiting to happen..guaranteed.

    • Gezza

       /  9th October 2018

      It depends what they mean and where such rights are proposed to be exercised. If it was for the whole of NZ that won’t fly with most Kiwis so it won’t happen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s