National instruments under the RMA include national policy statements and national environmental standards. Previous experience with national instruments has shown that high-level and general objectives and policies provide minimal direction and result in poor implementation. An effective national policy statement for freshwater management must include robust objectives and policies that set clear goals for achieving good freshwater quality, for allocating freshwater, and for avoiding over-allocation. It would also need to include specific timeframes for the attainment of objectives and a clear statement of implementation mechanisms. Those provisions are now largely in place. The main challenges to come include:
- Provision of a broader range of, and more environmentally protective, attributes in the National Objectives Framework.
- Implementation of the NPSFM through regional plans.
- Managing allocation issues, particularly allocation of waterbodies’ capacity to assimilate pollutants
- Dealing with the additional stresses to water use and protection posed by climate change.
Last updated at 6:19PM on November 16, 2017