About the regional forum – who's on it and what's it for?
Learn more from forum chair Fiona Smith
Q So you've been meeting for nearly three years. That's a lot of meetings. What's the process for coming up with recommendations?
A We’ve learnt there are big gaps between the state of our waterways across the region now, and where we need to be to improve our freshwater. We’ve worked closely with the key subject matter experts and embarked on a big learning curve asking questions, receiving information, seeking out further advice, hearing from the community and people with a vested interest in freshwater including farming organisations, recreational groups, businesses and industry bodies. After 2 ½ years of understanding the issues, we are now starting to draft our advice.
Q What sort of things are coming up as you start drafting the advice?
A The types of issues we’ve been grappling with include repurposing land that is currently being used in a way that ultimately negatively impacts our waterways; looking at ways of mitigating risks; building resilience in the face of climate change; and what incentives and regulatory frameworks might work best so landowners, and the wider Southland community, are encouraged to do everything they can to improve our waterways.
Q What happens after you present your recommendations to Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama?
A There’s a process and there will be opportunities for input before any recommendations get turned into a regional plan change. After committing more than three years to this project, we believe we have covered the important bases in our background thinking and we are in a strong position to offer recommendations that will result in improvements to Southland’s freshwater. With our suite of recommended initiatives and other advice, we're making a commitment to our children and grandchildren, and to achieving Te Mana o Te Wai - the holistic health and wellbeing of the land, water and the people.