Te Mana o Te Wai


2 min read

Changes to regional plans Changes to the consenting process What can dairy farmers do? Further information

Te Mana o Te Wai is the principle that underscores the vital importance of water in decision-making for freshwater management. This concept prioritises the well-being of water, human health, and other social, economic, and cultural needs. The page outlines recent changes to regional planning and consent processes that make this principle central to environmental policy. Dairy farmers can engage with their local council and Iwi to understand and influence how this concept affects their community and farming practices.

Te Mana o Te Wai refers to the fundamental importance of water as the foundation of all decision-making for freshwater management.

It recognises that protecting the health of freshwater also protects the health and well-being of people and the environment, and it is now at the forefront of environmental policy.

Changes to regional plans

Councils must give effect to Te Mana o Te Wai in their plans and policy statements.

When doing so they must engage with the community and tangata whenua to decide what Te Mana o Te Wai means for the waterbodies in their region.

Te Mana o Te Wai requires the values of freshwater to be managed according to the hierarchy of obligations, in a way that prioritises:

  1. First, the health and well-being of water
  2. Second, provides for human health such as drinking water
  3. And last, all other uses for people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being

Changes to the consenting process

All consent applications must now 'have regard to' Te Mana o Te Wai as set out in the NPS-FM 2020.

Applications must include an assessment of how the proposed activities give effect to Te Mana o te Wai and the hierarchy of obligations.

This is NEW to farmers and little guidance is available. It will affect all current and future applications for a resource consent.

The assessment process will most likely differ between each region. The consent team at the regional council will be able to help with questions.

What can dairy farmers do?

Make your voice heard

Te Mana o Te Wai should reflect the views of the whole community – get involved in discussions with your council on new regional plans.

Have knowledge about the concept of Te Mana o Te Wai

To understand that the health and well-being of waterways will be prioritised in freshwater management and in the development of regional policy statements and plans.

Talk to, and form relationships with your local Iwi

This may be directly or alongside your industry bodies, catchment group, or regional council.

Further information about Te Mana o Te Wai

Last updated: Aug 2023

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