Background

We're developing a new plan for freshwater in Taranaki as part of the Government's Essential Freshwater reforms. Key to this is a kōrero with our community about how we manage freshwater.

The Natural Resources Plan for Taranaki will replace the Council's Regional Freshwater Plan and your feedback will guide the targets, limits and rules in the plan that ensure we manage freshwater effectively for the whole community.

As part of this process, we're looking to create six Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) in our region which group together waterbodies of similar type into geographically defined areas.

The Essential Freshwater reforms

The Government’s Essential Freshwater reform package aims to protect and improve our rivers, streams and wetlands to stop further degradation of freshwater, start making immediate improvements and reverse past damage to bring our waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation.

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM 2020) sets out the policies and the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-FW) establishes the regulations to achieve this.

What this means for people in Taranaki is requirements are being set for those carrying out certain activities that pose risks to freshwater and freshwater ecosystems. Anyone carrying out these activities will need to comply with the standards and, in many cases, people need to apply for a resource consent from the Council to continue carrying out regulated activities.

All of this is underpinned by Te Mana o te Wai (the mana of the water).

Community conversation

We heard from our community in October to December 2022. The engagement asked people for their vision for freshwater, the values they thought as important in the six proposed Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) and whether the Council's approach in creating the FMUs was right.

Then we sought feedback in September and October 2023 on the vision for each FMU and the environmental outcomes we'll be aiming for in each of the six FMUs. This community feedback was vital as the vision and outcomes will shape how we plan to look after freshwater now and for the future.

The Council's next community consultation will be asking for your views on specific limits and targets across the six FMUs. This will be key as it will define the targets the Council develops in the Natural Resources Plan. The feedback will run between March to April 2024.

The science

Technical reports to provide further background information about freshwater in Taranaki.

National documents

Te Mana o te Wai

Te Mana o te Wai refers to the fundamental importance of water and recognises that protecting the health of freshwater protects the health and well-being of the wider environment.

It is about restoring and preserving the balance between the water, the wider environment, and the community.

These principles will guide us to improve the health and well-being of our waterways within a generation. It requires us to re-evaluate our relationship with freshwater and place the health and well-being of water at the centre of our decision-making. By prioritising the health and well-being of freshwater we protect the health and well-being of our people, communities and our long-term economic wellbeing.

In Te Mana o Te Wai there is a hierarchy of obligations. This hierarchy means prioritising the health and well-being of water first. The second priority is the health needs of people (such as drinking water) and the third is the ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being.

The six principles of Te Mana o te Wai

Mana whakahaere: the power, authority, and obligations of tangata whenua to make decisions that maintain, protect, and sustain the health and well-being of, and their relationship with, freshwater.

Kaitiakitanga: the obligation of tangata whenua to preserve, restore, enhance, and sustainably use freshwater for the benefit of present and future generations.

Manaakitanga: the process by which tangata whenua show respect, generosity, and care for freshwater and for others.

Governance: the responsibility of those with authority for making decisions about freshwater to do so in a way that prioritises the health and well-being of freshwater now and into the future.

Stewardship: the obligation of all New Zealanders to manage freshwater in a way that ensures it sustains present and future generations.

Care and respect: the responsibility of all New Zealanders to care for freshwater in providing for the health of the nation.

How we apply Te Mana o te Wai in the Taranaki context will be informed through engagement with our community and tangata whenua. For more information, check out this information sheet.

FMUs

Have your say

The next phase of consultation begins March to April 2024.

The Council's next community consultation will be asking for your views on specific limits and targets across the six FMUs. This will be key as it will define the targets the Council develops in the Natural Resources Plan.

Previous consultations