The Land and Water Forum’s latest report calls for national bottom lines to be set for the state of the country’s waterways.
. . . the LWF, a group representing iwi and key freshwater stakeholders, said iwi and urban and rural communities should then collaborate to develop specific water quality objectives for each catchment and identify local solutions to achieve them. . .
. . . The Forum’s second major report provides a national framework within which Regional Councils will work with their communities and iwi to set freshwater objectives and develop limits for its use.
It provides a consistent and transparent process for setting objectives and limits, and one that will lead to effective and enduring outcomes, including greater certainty for investment and development.
“The way in which water issues have traditionally been decided has ultimately benefited no one,” said Mr Bisley. “We all agree we need to do better for the sake of both the economy and the environment.”
What is remarkable about the report is the degree of consensus achieved on it and Colin James gives the credit for that to the process:
. . . the forum’s report is important in substance. It is also important as process. Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird at the far ends of the spectrum of interest groups have publicly backed it, along with many others. So, too, have Government ministers, Labour, the Greens and the Maori party. The word is that similar consensus and party backing is close on the allocation report.
In short, on a matter of vital importance to economic and social life there is a real prospect of settled policy that can transcend changes of government.
This is no small achievement and if memory serves me correctly former Environment Minister Nick Smith and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean had a lot to do with setting up the forum and ensuring it ran well.
The process has worked well for water, is it too much to hope a similar process could work as well for other important matters?
A link to the report is here.