Water allocation work programme

This page has information on work to improve New Zealand’s freshwater allocation system.

The Government is continuing work to develop options for improving New Zealand’s freshwater allocation system. This involves looking at potential improvements to the system for allocating the right to take water and the right to discharge contaminants to water.

Officials will be looking at a wide range of options for water allocation, including their costs, benefits and impacts, and will consider overseas approaches.  This work builds on the work of the Land and Water Forum and international experience.

The Government has established a technical advisory group to advise officials on the practical impact of different options.

Find out more information about the work programme and the technical advisory group:

Water allocation technical advisory group members

Hon David Caygill (Chair)
Local government planning and decision-making, especially for fresh water. Currently an Environment Canterbury Commissioner, has served three terms as a Christchurch City Councillor and six terms as a Member of Parliament where he held ministerial portfolios in Trade and Industry, Health and Finance. He has held numerous senior board appointments. In 2011 he led the panel that reviewed the operation and effectiveness of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
Dr Suzie Greenhalgh


 Resource economics, environmental and agricultural policy, environmental markets and market-based instruments specialist. Currently Portfolio Leader of the Supporting Business and Policy Portfolio at Landcare Research. Previously a senior economist at Washington DC environmental policy think tank The World Resources Institute. She has worked on a wide range of topics on how to allocate natural resources. Recent work includes the economic impacts of nutrient reduction policies in New Zealand and use of collaboration to set water limits and water policy. PhD (Resource Economics), Ohio State University.
Catherine Harland Urban water supply and waste management governance, public policy and local government specialist. Board member Watercare Services Ltd. Consultant with a background in research and public policy in local and central government.  She has worked for MartinJenkins, The New Zealand Institute and Auckland University of Technology’s Institute of Public Policy, and was an elected local government member for 15 years.
Chris Keenan Primary production horticulture specialist. Manager, Natural Resources and Environment at Horticulture New Zealand, Member of the Land and Water Partnership and the Land and Water Forum, and the National Freshwater Objectives Framework Reference Group. Has led horticulture industry involvement countrywide on water quality and quantity plan changes involving allocation since 2007. He has conjoint qualifications from Lincoln in natural resource management and science.
Craige Mackenzie Primary production (farm-level dairy and arable), irrigation. Operates a 200 hectare arable cropping property and is a partner in a neighbouring 320 hectare dairy farm milking 1150 cows. Owner-operator of Agri Optics, a precision agriculture company, and Chairman of the Precision Agriculture Association.  Member of the Foundation for Arable Research Strategic Research Committee.  He has participated in several research programmes and received numerous awards for innovative approaches to farming, including the 2013 National Winner of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards with recognition for nutrient and irrigation management.
Elizabeth Soal Expertise in irrigation and allocation within and across irrigation schemes. Policy Manager for Waitaki Irrigators Collective. Has a good understanding of irrigation-related issues and policy developments at the regional and national levels. 2014 Churchill Fellow, to study water management and beneficial farming practices in Canada. Currently undertaking a PhD examining changes to the course of freshwater management in New Zealand over time, with a focus on recent transitions to collaborative governance.
Jim Truesdale Electricity sector expertise, including operational experience, specialising in electricity generation and wholesale electricity market issues. Provides advice to market participants, policy-makers and regulators in New Zealand and overseas. From 1999-2012 he was a Director of Concept Consulting Group. Holds a Masters of Electrical Engineering degree.
Dr Adele Whyte Iwi development expertise, and science and research (biology). Chief Executive Ngāti Kahungunu. She worked as a technical advisor to the Kahungunu Ki Uta, Kahungunu Ki Tai steering group, was involved in the establishment of the Fisheries & Environment Unit within Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, and was the unit’s first director (2010-2013). PhD in biological sciences, and previously a lecturer and researcher at Victoria University School of Biological Sciences.
Dr Roger Young Expertise in limit setting, integrated catchment management, river ecology, water quality, ecosystem health and freshwater fisheries. Group Manager, Freshwater Sciences Cawthron Institute.  His work involves a mix of government-funded research on river ecosystems, and commercial projects assisting a range of clients with freshwater management issues. Has developed new tools for measuring river ecosystem health. A member of the steering group for the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website. PhD (Zoology), BSc (Hons, Zoology/Chemistry), University of Otago.