Freshwater reform proposals - 2016

This page has public feedback on the Government's 2016 'Next steps for freshwater' proposals.

Summary of submissions

About the consultation

The Government held a public consultation on proposed fresh water reforms from 20 February to 22 April 2016. The proposed reforms aim to improve the management of fresh water to deliver better environmental and economic outcomes and improve iwi involvement in freshwater decision-making. 

A series of public meetings and hui were held across the country. These were attended by around 1050 people. 

For more information on the proposed reforms see Next steps for fresh water: Consultation document.

Overview of feedback

Fresh water and our environment

  • Support for ‘maintaining’ water quality within a Freshwater Management Unit, but less support for defining this within attribute bands.
  • Support for the Macroinvertebrate Community Index as a monitoring method.
  • Mixed responses to exceptions for significant infrastructure.
  • Strong support for proposals related to intermittently closing and opening lakes and lagoons. 
  • Support in principle for stock exclusion, but specifics of stock exclusion requirements remain contentious.

Economic use of fresh water

  • General support for developing Good Management Practices and Technical Efficiency Standards.
  • Differing views on transfer and trade.
  • Support for guidance on reducing over-allocation.
  • General support for increasing cost-recovery mechanisms, but with a number of concerns raised.

Iwi rights and interests in fresh water

  • Support from most organisations for Te Mana o te Wai, but opposition from many individual submitters.
  • Support for Mana Whakahono a Rohe from local authorities and iwi.
  • Concerns raised about the changes to Water Conservation Orders, but general support for the proposals regarding iwi involvement.
  • General support from stakeholder organisations on the proposals around iwi/hapū engagement and recognising iwi and hapū relationships with, and values for freshwater, with differing views among individuals.
  • Support for additional funding for clean, safe drinking water for marae and papakāinga.

Freshwater improvement fund

  • Strong support for the fund in principle, with concerns voiced over specifics of the criteria and project eligibility.

Other issues raised

  • Many individual submissions commented on rights and interests in fresh water in a general sense. The majority of these comments did not relate directly to proposals in the document.
  • Significant public interest in achieving 'swimmability'.
  • Some private sector and individual submitters sought improved urban water management.
  • Issues raised with allocation, particularly around property rights, and the lack of an allocation framework in the proposals.


The Ministry received 3966 individual written submissions.  This included a combined submission from ActionStation, which included the views of 2376 individuals. In total, the views of 6,342 New Zealanders were received. 

About half of the 3966 submissions were template submissions (2182) promoted by:

  • the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society (1877) 
  • the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand (295)
  • the Morgan Foundation (9)
  • the combined submission from ActionStation, which included the views of 2376 individuals.

Submissions from stakeholder groups included:

  • 14 from regional councils (including the unitary councils)
  • 15 city and district councils 
  • 40 Iwi/Māori groups
  • 59 NGOs
  • 36 business
  • 20 primary industry groups
  • six electricity generators
  • seven universities/Crown Research Institutes
  • 23 other organisations (including health boards, the Land and Water Forum, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment).

The unique submissions and the form submission templates are available in the tables below. Some information is withheld at the request of submitters and contact details of all submitters are withheld under section 9(2)(a) of the Official Information Act 1982.

View unique submissions (Alphabetic order organisation name/entry):

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Consultation State