In a statement to members today, Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard clarified the organisation’s Three Waters stance.
Hoggard wrote, ‘Some media interviews on the debate in the Parliament on the Water Services Entities Bill has raised questions over Federated Farmers’ stance on three waters reform and Te Mana o Te Wai.’
Hoggard went on to clafity the position:
‘Nanaia Mahuta in the House last night said…
‘In Part 1 of the bill, what we will see is a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) which makes clear Te Mana o te Wai clarifications. When I look to the work of the select committee, it was actually the Federated Farmers, in their submission, who highlighted that they wanted greater clarification of Te Mana o te Wai and its meaning, which is set out in SOP 306.
‘Cabinet Minister Megan Woods said in a radio interview that Federated Farmers had asked that Te Mana o Te Wai in regard to the new water entities to be extended to coastal and geothermal water. This is simply not correct.
‘This is what Federated Farmers recommended on Te Mana o Te Wai in our submission on the Water Services Entities Bill:
- The concept of Te Mana o Te Wai be fully described in the Act (and any subsidiary legislative instruments) in order to provide legislative certainty.
- Issues around Te Mana o Te Wai be subject to further careful consideration to ensure there is clarity for WSEs, councils, and for water users (including how Te Mana o Te Wai Statements may influence resource under Section 104 of the Resource Management Act).
- Greater detail is provided in the Bill on the form Te Mana o Te Wai statements must take.
- Te Mana o Te Wai statements be made non-binding by removing reference to Te Mana o Te Wai in WSE Statements of Intent (delete clause 145(2)(c)).
‘This should be read in context that we opposed the Water Services Entities Bill for many reasons, with uncertainty around Te Mana o Te Wai one of the many reasons. Click here to read our full submission.
The definition of Te Mana o Te Wai in clause 6 of the Water Servces Entities Bill as it was introduced was as follows:
- Te Mana o te Wai has the meaning set out in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management issued in 2020 under section 52 of the Resource Management Act 1991 and any statement issued under that section that amends or replaces the 2020 statement (and see also sections 4, 5, and 13)
‘This is the Minister’s proposed ‘fix’, as set out in SOP306:
‘In clause 6, replace the definition of Te Mana o te Wai (page 17, lines 20 to 23) with: Te Mana o te Wai—
- (a) has the meaning set out in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management issued in 2020 under section 52 of the Resource Management Act 1991 and any statement issued under that section that amends or replaces the 2020 statement (and see also sections 4, 5, and 13 of this Act); and
- (b) applies, for the purposes of this Act, to water (as that term is defined in section 2(1) of the Resource Management Act 1991).
‘Although it is indeed a clarification in response to a recommendation in our submission this is not a good change as it puts in the Bill (that will if passed become and Act) a definition that is included in secondary legislation (i.e., regulation) which could be changed by Cabinet without reference back to Parliament. A more appropriate response would have been to set the provisions of what Te Mana o Te Wai means in the Bill itself or more clearly in the RMA (not withstanding that it is on the black for repeal and replacement) and not refer to the NPS.’