Freshwater Leaders Group

The Freshwater Leaders Group supports the Essential Freshwater Work Programme.

About the group

This group brings together expertise and input from leaders across the primary sector and agribusiness, environmental non-government organisations and other voices from the community. 

This group will have a member in common with Kahui Wai Māori, Science and Technical Advisory Group and the Primary Sector Council.

It will provide a sounding board for policy, input ideas, challenge analysis and lead discussions across various sectors. See Freshwater Leaders Group Terms of Reference.

Freshwater Leaders Group Terms of Reference


The following people are appointed for a term of one year.

John Penno (Chair)

John Penno is a co-founder of Synlait and is a highly respected businessman and through his role as Executive Chairman of Synlait is an experienced chair. He brings a strong understanding of the interplay between business and the environment to the group.

Professor Nicola Shadbolt 

Professor Nicola Shadbolt helped instigate and establish Fonterra’s strategic charter on sustainability. Through her roles as Director of Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd, Chair of Hopkins Farming Group Ltd, and Director of IFAMA-International Food & Agribusiness Management Association, Professor Shadbolt brings skills in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, risk and resilience, innovation capture through science, and cooperative governance and management to the group.

Alison Dewes

Alison Dewes is Head of Environment at Pāmu Farms New Zealand (Landcorp Farming Limited) and has experience in iwi organisations (Raukawa Environment Team 2011-2014) and consulting to Māori trusts and incorporations around land and resource use. Alison is skilled in leading technical teams in advisory roles and experienced in project management, reporting to a range of business and national boards.

Tom Lambie

Tom Lambie has a long history of farming politics and was National President of Federated Farmers from 2002–2005. He has a long involvement with the farming sector and a close association with the development of the Opuha Water Storage Dam. He has an in-depth understanding of the economic and environmental benefits of good water management and Environment Canterbury.

Traci Houpapa

Through her work chairing the Federation of Māori Authorities, Traci has an in-depth understanding of Māori concerns about freshwater management. She is an advisor to Māori, Government, the public and private sectors on strategic and economic development. Traci will be the member in common with Kahui Wai Māori.

Dr Marc Schallenberg

Dr Marc Schallenberg is the Research Fellow in Freshwater Science, University of Otago and President of the NZ Freshwater Sciences Society. He is a member of the technical advisory group for Waituna Lagoon and Guardians of Lakes Monowai, Manapouri and Te Anau. Dr Schallenberg brings expertise in freshwater science to the group. Dr Schallenberg is a member in common with the Science and Technical Advisory Group.

Allen Lim

Allen Lim, a well-known horticulturalist, is the current Chair of Selwyn-Waihora Zone Committee. Members include six community representatives from various backgrounds, five Rūnanga representatives, a councillor from each of Selwyn District Council, Christchurch City Council as well as Canterbury Regional Council. Through his work, Mr Lim has a wide range of experience working collaboratively to identify and resolve freshwater management issues and he involved with a range of horticultural bodies. 

Marnie Prickett

Marnie Prickett is the Choose Clean Water Campaign Organiser and Spokesperson and a former staff member at Auckland Council programme Wai Care. Marnie brings a strong understanding of community concerns about freshwater and the issues around managing it.     

Gary Taylor

Gary Taylor is currently Executive Director Environmental Defence Society. Gary was an initiator of the Land and Water Forum and had ten years experience on it. He has an extensive background in Resource Management Act processes and is a member of the Climate Leaders Forum.

Dr Hugh Logan

Hugh Logan is the former CE of the Department of Conservation (nine years) and the Ministry for the Environment (two years) and has been a member of ECan’s Regional Water Management Committee. Hugh is Chair of the Land and Water Forum. He has expertise in protected area and species management, biosecurity, environmental management, public policy, environmental policy, Antarctic operations and history.

Mandy Bell

Mandy Bell is chair of the Otago Deer Farmers Association and is a farmer and vet from Wanaka. She is a member of the Upper Clutha Water Group that has freshwater improvement funding. Mandy is part of Rongoawai and One Health which works with farmers and water catchment groups to improve environmental outcomes through the optimal integrated health of water, environment, animals and people.

Lees Seymour

Lees Seymour is the Managing Director of Nelson Management Ltd, the management company of Nelson Forests Ltd (NFL). NFL owns 78,000 ha of production forest in Nelson and Marlborough and the Kaituna sawmill near Blenheim. He is a former chair of the New Zealand Forest Industries Council and New Zealand Wood and was also a Board Member of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association for 10 years. Lees is an alumni of Te Hono and has been a respected forest industry leader for many years.

Corina Jordan

Corina Jordan is the Environment Policy Manager North Island of Beef + Lamb NZ. She has strong experience in the development of integrated policy frameworks to sustainably manage land and water resources, and engagement across multiple stakeholders and communities to address complex natural resource management issues. Her current role sees her working with industry to promote sustainable farming practices and the establishment of management frameworks for farming within environmental limits.

Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson brings experience working on collaborative decision-making processes for freshwater management. He is a former Chief Executive of the New Zealand Fish and Game Council and brings a strong understanding of the challenges involved with the protection and management of New Zealand’s freshwater resources.

Graeme Gleeson

Graeme Gleeson is a Sheep and beef-cattle farmer and has been involved with sector extension and representation (eg, B+LNZ Farmer Council and Environment Group, Delegate Waikato - Waipa Healthy Rivers Collaborative Stakeholders Group). He is a member of farmer group ‘Farmers for Positive Change’. Graeme has also been instrumental in instigating the pan-sector agricultural group ‘Farming Sustainably for Profit’. He brings extended networks across industry, science providers, and the wider farmer/agri-business community.

Stephanie Howard

Stephanie Howard is Projects Director at the Sustainability Council NZ. Stephanie has also worked with civil society organisations in Europe, North America and New Zealand on emerging technologies, including genetic modification and nanotechnologies. Her analysis has centred on sustainability issues arising from these technologies and public processes for deciding how to regulate them. Her current research is on new types of GM techniques and the governance of nanotechnologies.