Supporting evidence for Essential Freshwater new rules and regulations

The Government considered reports and advice from advisory groups and other experts before announcing new rules and regulations under the Essential Freshwater policy package.

The policy package has changed because of the findings of these reports, feedback from consultation and changing political and economic circumstance brought by the Covid-19 response and advice from officials.

The core economic impact reports have been updated to reflect the final policy package. Many of the other reports use earlier versions of the policy package and have not been able to be updated. This means that in these other reports the costs will appear higher than the impacts assessed for the final package.  


For Official advice to Ministers see the briefings search 

Reports and correspondence from advisory bodies

Freshwater Leaders Group report to the Minister for the Environment

Essential Freshwater – Report of the Independent Advisory Panel

Freshwater Science and Technical Advisory Group – Supplementary report to the Minister for the Environment

Letter from Te Kāhui Wai Māori, Freshwater Leaders Group, and Regional Sector Water Subgroup on the Action plan for healthy waterways proposals [PDF, 510 KB]  

Letter from Te Kāhui Wai Māori following the joint-letter of Te Kāhui Wai Māori, the Freshwater Leaders Group, and the Regional Sector Water Subgroup [PDF, 91 KB]

Letter from Te Kāhui Wai Māori regarding some aspects of the proposals set out in the Action plan for healthy waterways consultation document [PDF, 144 KB]

Joint-letter from the Regional Sector Water Subgroup and primary sector organisations regarding farm plans [PDF, 556 KB]

Letter from the Regional Sector Water Group responding to the report of the Independent Advisory Panel’s report on Action plan for healthy waterways [PDF, 651 KB]

Letter from Regional Sector Water subgroup regarding freshwater water reform in light of COVID-19 [PDF, 205 KB]

Other impact and policy reports

Environmental impact assessments

Impacts of climate and freshwater policies: Literature review

Summary of modelling to inform environmental impact assessment of nutrient proposals

Consequences of Inaction: Potential ramifications of delaying proposed nutrient limitations on New Zealand lakes, rivers, and estuaries

A technical review of documents relating to the Ministry for the Environment's environmental impact assessment work

Further analyses of fine sediment attributes to support development of the NPS freshwater management

Peer reviews and response to peer reviews of the primary method used to develop suspended and deposited fine sediment bottom lines for inclusion in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management

Economic impact assessments

Consumer willingness to pay – results from AERU research

Essential Freshwater Package: Benefits analysis

Essential Freshwater Package: Costs analysis

Overview of the impact analysis undertaken to inform decisions on freshwater policy

The economic effects of water quality proposals: Modelling scenarios

Essential Freshwater regulations – Industry impact analysis

Estimated on-farm economic impacts of selected mitigation options

Assessment of cultural and economic impacts on Māori

Report one: Options for estimating effects of proposed freshwater water policies on Māori land use potential

Report two: Preliminary estimate of the cost of the Essential Freshwater proposals on Māori land use potential

Essential Freshwater - Action on Healthy Waterways: Impacts on Māori values 

Social impact assessment

Understanding the social impacts of freshwater reform: A review of six limit-setting SIAs 

Assessment of impact on councils

Administrative costs of proposed Essential Freshwater Package on regional councils

Proposed changes to freshwater attributes relating to upgrading wastewater treatment plants

Reports released for the public consultation in September 2019 

Reports used in the development of the Action for freshwater proposals (scroll to the What was proposed section)

The Ministry released multiple reports that were used to develop the Action for Freshwater proposals. While some of the policies changed following the feedback from the consultation and the Independent Advisory Panel, these reports still contain useful information for understanding the impacts and effects of the proposals and how the proposals were developed.