Russel Norman

Canterbury water management in no-mans-land

by Russel Norman

I recently was the guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Water Rights Trust (WRT) in Christchurch, where outgoing Chairman Murray Rodgers gave an impassioned speech about the poor state of water resources and water governance in Canterbury. Murray remains as a trustee of the WRT and is also a member of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy Steering Group.

Murray made some very good points regarding the snail-like pace at which improved water management is happening. After many years of what he describes as the “gentle approach” of education and persuasion which has failed to improve water quality, Murray paints a picture of Canterbury as a “no-mans land” of water governance.  This situation is brought about by the lack of unequivocal commitment from both farmers and the central Government to do what is necessary to clean up the region. Sadly, this story is echoed in other parts of New Zealand where intensive agriculture has been left to expand without adequate regulation.

Murray’s speech can be read here:

Murray’s speech covers many of the points made by the Green Party in our plan to clean up New Zealand’s lakes and rivers to make them swimmable once more, including a levy on the use of water by irrigators. You can read our Clean Rivers plan here