National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020

In August 2020 the Government released a new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM 2020). This directs how regional councils manage freshwater and activities that affect freshwater. All councils, including Nelson City Council, must give effect to this Policy Statement. The objective of the NPSFM 2020 is to ensure that natural and physical resources are managed in a way that prioritises:

  • First, the health and well-being of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems;
  • Second, the health needs of people (such as drinking water);
  • Third, the ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural well-being, now and in the future.

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPSFM 2020) can be found here: National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020.

Te Mana o te Wai

Te Mana o te Wai is about the fundamental importance of water and is the core concept of the NPSFM 2020. It is about making clean water and healthy freshwater eco-systems the priority and recognising that protecting freshwater protects the health and wellbeing of people and the wider environment.

This means that we need to think about freshwater differently than what we have done in the past. Instead of trying to balance competing demands on freshwater as a resource to use, councils must now put freshwater health ahead of all other uses and values. What this means for the different users of water is still being worked on, but we can expect change.

By prioritising the health of freshwater, we will need to reconsider how we go about activities that cause poor water health. This may result in different limits and conditions around how water and land is used and managed. For example, higher standards of land management may be required for some activities, discharges to water, and ways of using land next to water may need to be reconsidered.

More information about it can be found here: Essential Freshwater Te Mana o te Wai factsheet.

Te Mana o te Wai: Introduction and overview

Councils and the iwi of Te Tauihu/The Top of the South are working in partnership to better understand Te Mana o te Wai and how our freshwater plans can recognise, respect and use mātauranga and tikanga along with our science and local community knowledge to get the best outcomes for freshwater and our communities. By the end of 2024, we aim to be able to notify a freshwater plan that weaves these things together.

The collaboration group Te Puna Korero ki te Tauihu Participants are:

  • Ngāti Apa ki te Trust
  • Ngāti Koata Trust
  • Ngāti Tama ki Te Tauihu
  • Te Ātiawa o Te Waka a Māui Trust
  • Te Rūnanga a Rangitāne o Wairau
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Kuia Trust
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua
  • Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira
  • Marlborough District Council
  • Nelson City Council
  • Tasman District Council

More information about this group and the process can be found here: Eight Iwi and Three Councils' Partnership.

National Objectives Framework

The NPSFM 2020 guides councils, communities and tangata whenua in how to work towards new ways of thinking about and managing freshwater. This is done through the National Objectives Framework (NOF) which involves councils working with the community and tangata whenua through the following key steps:

  1. Identify each Freshwater Management Unit (FMU)
  2. Define a long-term vision and freshwater values for each FMU
  3. Set environmental outcomes for the value
  4. Identify freshwater attributes, baseline, and current and target states for each value
  5. Set rules for land and water uses to achieve the outcomes
  6. Take other actions to achieve the environmental outcomes and long-term visions

Some of the work towards meeting the requirements of the NOF has been already done as part of the draft Nelson Plan process.

More information about the NOF can be found here: National Objectives Framework.