Science and Technical Advisory Group

It is important that we have robust scientific evidence for all the work in the Ministry and as a base for freshwater policy options. We have sought external expertise to help us explore and test our approach, and to provide specialist advice on science and policy work.

This page provides information about the Science and Technical Advisory Group, its members, details of their report to the Minister for the Environment, and meeting minutes and documents leading to the development of the report.

About the group

The Science and Technical Advisory Group oversees the scientific evidence for freshwater policy development. The establishment of this group draws on useful discussions between freshwater scientists about policy development and the science behind the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (Freshwater NPS).

This group provides and technical advice on the Essential Freshwater work programme and other Ministry for the Environment work. It has a role in ensuring the interpretation of the science for policy development is accurate. It also helps improve protocols to better manage the incorporation of science into the policy process.

Terms of Reference [PDF, 778 KB]


  • Ken Taylor – Our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Chair)
  • Dr Adam Canning – Fish and Game
  • Dr Bev Clarkson – Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
  • Dr Bryce Cooper –  NIWA
  • Dr Chris Daughney – Ministry for the Environment
  • Dr Clive Howard-Williams – NIWA
  • Dr Dan Hikuroa – University of Auckland
  • Graham Sevicke-Jones – Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
  • Prof. Ian Hawes – University of Waikato
  • Prof. Jenny Webster-Brown – Lincoln University and University of Canterbury
  • Dr Joanne Clapcott – Cawthron Institute
  • Dr Jon Roygard – Horizons Regional Council
  • Dr Marc Schallenberg – University of Otago – Past President of New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society
  • Dr Mike Joy – Victoria University of Wellington
  • Ra Smith – Kahungunu ki Wairarapa
  • Prof. Russell Death – Massey University

Members have been appointed to this group because of their personal insight, skills and expertise, not as representatives of any organisation.

Kahui Wai Māori members who are also on the Science and Technical Advisory Group are:

  • Dr Tanira Kingi
  • Dr James Ataria
  • Mahina-a-Rangi Baker

Report to the Minister for the Environment

STAG members provided a report to the Minister for the Environment in September 2019. Their report highlights a strong focus on the health of the environment and the waterbody. The report recommends changes to the national freshwater management framework to strengthen the relationship between this national direction and ecosystem health and functioning.

Read the report

The meeting minutes and documents leading to the development of the report are listed below.

Meeting minutes

Meeting documents

Below are the key meeting papers that the Ministry provided to STAG to inform their discussions and seek feedback on the Essential Freshwater proposals. The meeting papers contain the agendas, draft minutes from previous meetings, and information on the topics being discussed. From time to time it was necessary to send STAG members information between meetings. These documents are listed as additional meeting papers.

Meeting papers

Additional meeting papers