Goals set for future of Southland’s waterways
“Today we have taken a big and clear step towards meeting our community’s expectations for freshwater,” said Environment Southland Chairman Nicol Horrell. He was referring to the draft environmental outcomes, or goals, councillors endorsed today.
Determining the values and setting the draft environmental outcomes (objectives) are the first key outputs from the People, Water and Land programme – Te Mana o te Tangata, te Wai, te Whenua.
The People, Water and Land programme is a partnership between the Council and Te Ao Marama to improve the region’s water quality and to meet the requirements of the Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, which will ultimately lead to the setting of limits (for discharges to and abstractions from waterbodies).
Chairman Nicol Horrell said the outcomes represent a great deal of work over the last two years.
“Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama have woven together one set of outcomes for Southland. They articulate where our communities want to get to and what our region is aiming for in terms of freshwater and estuary health,” he said.
Understanding what’s important to Southland communities for water and developing regional environmental outcomes to protect these values are the first steps in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
“On top of what we are required to do, we know from conversations with our community, that there is a strong desire to have cleaner rivers, waterways you can drink straight from, and healthy ecosystems so we can continue to swim, fish and practice mahinga kai,” he said.
Te Ao Marama Chairman Stewart Bull said achieving restoration of our waterways within a generation (25 years) is important to Ngai Tahu ki Murihiku. “We need to be able to ensure tikanga (correct practice) can be handed down to the next generation before it is lost forever. Improving waterways is absolutely key to that,” he said.
Both Chairman Horrell and Chairman Bull agreed that this weaving process is significant.
Chairman Bull: “We’re incredibly proud that Southland has one set of outcomes that combine and recognise both iwi and community values, together, for our freshwater and estuaries. This has not occurred in any other region in the country. This is something special and we may have set a template that other regions are looking to use and follow.”
The work to produce one set of outcomes has been described by one peer reviewer as, “very comprehensive and a potentially ground breaking piece of work. The simple fact that it is a joint report from Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama makes it a powerful tool for future decision-making”.
Chairman Horrell: “This work sets the direction to achieve the outcomes for water over a generation, and over the next few years we’ll establish steps or ‘bite sized chunks’ to make sure we’re going to get there.”
Read more about the work completed as part of the Values and Objectives workstream – https://waterandland.es.govt.nz/about/values-and-objectives
For more on the environmental outcomes, read the full report entitled Draft Murihiku Southland Freshwater Objectives
State and outcome GIS map https://esgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/37545d7a6f424f85988520ab56f7b33b
[Please note there are 8 key reports that make up this package, and a number of supporting documents.]