National Freshwater Conference 2020

Sharing strategies to protect our most important resource


Registration and coffee
Mihi Whakatau
Opening remarks from the Chair
David Allen, Partner, Buddle Findlay
Opening keynote presentation on NZ's freshwater issues
  • Looking over the most important developments around freshwater over the past year
  • What we should all consider around National Environmental Standards for freshwater
  • How stakeholders are valuing freshwater – especially following droughts and scarcity 
Kevin Counsell, Senior Consultant, NERA
PANEL: Reactions to the Healthy Waterways reforms and practical implications
Expert commentary on new National Environmental Standards around drinking water, wastewater and freshwater – introducing the new regulations, levels, conservation orders and reporting requirements we can expect 
• Hear which new standards regional councils are being asked to achieve
• Discussion about whether new standards can work successfully with the Resource Management Act, iwi, environmental and agricultural and horticultural interests
• Learn how an accelerated planning process aims to enable better, faster and more consistent freshwater management plans by regional councils (through the RMA amendment bill)
Olivia Cook, Principal Planning Advisor, Environment Canterbury
Jennifer Rochford, GMP Implementation Lead, Environment Canterbury
David Allen, Partner, Buddle Findlay
Morning Break
Discussion: Incentivising users and managers to follow best practice in freshwater governance
A discussion of how all stakeholders can protect freshwater as central government sets the standards.
• How we can encourage better outcomes for freshwater
• A look at the numbers involved in new freshwater standards – incentives, disincentives, costs,
penalties and benefits
• Encouraging a shift in attitudes to freshwater management across urban and rural contexts
Dr David Gawith, Senior Analyst, Castalia
Dr Julia Talbot-Jones, Lecturer, School of Government & Victoria University of Wellington
Inside the country’s biggest wastewater tunnel reducing overflow – Auckland’s $1.2bn Central Interceptor
• Why Watercare is spending $5.8 billion on upgrading and expanding Auckland’s infrastructure over the next decade
• Urban water management: innovation for the future and compliance with the September 2019 updated Wastewater National Environmental Standard
• Why the National Freshwater Standard was expected to expand contaminants list for urban catchment controls.
Shayne Cunis, Executive Programme Director, Watercare
Blue Sky thinking on freshwater – the latest business-led innovations from Callaghan Innovation
• A look at future technology and innovation for clean freshwater
• Examples of how Callaghan has helped freshwater businesses
• Q&A with the audience about how Callaghan empowers freshwater innovators
James Muir, CEO & Director, Crunch & Flourish
New approaches to sustainable groundwater management relative to new policies for freshwater and drinking water supplies.
Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is being trialled through a series of community-based programmes across the country. MAR is an internationally proven set of techniques that seek to purposefully recharge clean water into aquifers to help mitigate the effects of abstraction and land use quality issues.
• What role might these types of sustainable groundwater programmes have on the new Action Plan for Health Waterways and the revised rules for Human Drinking Water Supplies?
• How the Provincial Growth Fund is enabling these Community Sustainable Groundwater Management projects
• How are increasing effects of climate change affecting the reliability of water supplies.
Bob Bower, Regional Manager and Principal Hydrologist, Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec
Afternoon Break
How improvements to intensive winter grazing can benefit freshwater
• The conflict between intensive winter grazing and acceptable water quality and animal welfare outcomes
• How winter grazing might be improved from environmental and animal welfare perspectives
Bernadette Hunt, Southland Vice-president, Federated Farmers
Chris Allen, National Board Member, Federated Farmers
Fresh ways to think about reducing nitrate losses to waterways

Some nitrate can be stopped by ecological engineering aka landscaping to attenuate nitrate losses before it hits waterways. It’s about better understanding and targeted management of leaky soils, naturally ‘existing’ nitrate attenuation capacity of landscape, and innovative options to design and implement edge-of-field technologies such as controlled drainage, woodchip bioreactors and drainage water harvesting and reuse to build ‘new’ nitrate attenuation capacity.
• Nitrate – a key and tricky nutrient to manage in agriculture
• Current nitrate regulation state in response to agricultural intensification
• Looking beyond the farm root zone: nitrate flow pathways and denitrification ‘attenuation’ processes
• New catchment-scale perspectives to ecologically engineer land use practices and nitrate attenuation technologies for improved farm productivity and reduced water quality impacts

Dr Ranvir Singh, Associate Professor in Environmental Hydrology and Soil Science, School of Agriculture and Environment & Massey University
PANEL: What community catchments can achieve
• Results of the community catchment at Wainono, South Canterbury, developed in conjunction with the Waihao rūnanga, Lower Waitaki Zone Committee, Waimate District Council and the Waihao Wainono Community Catchment Group
• Compared with the results of the Rangitikei Community Catchment Group
Roger Dalrymple, Chair, Rangitikei Community Catchment Group
Roger Small & Colin Hurst, Founders, Waihao Wainono Community Catchment Group
Summary remarks from the Chair and networking drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Inheriting Wai Māori/Fresh Water as a Taonga


  • Risks to our tourism brand if we don’t protect freshwater
  • Innovation and eco-tourism opportunities
  • Te Ao Māori perspective on taonga and tikanga-based water allocation framework
  • How changing water use affects our tourism value proposition
Lara Taylor, Kairangahau Māori - Māori Researcher, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research
PANEL: The economic impact of healthy waterways plans
• Predictions about how the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways has economic impact, for better or worse
• Essential Freshwater proposals and the potential economic impact on vegetable production
• Debate: have farmers lost the chance to exist in a regulation-free environment?
• How degrading water quality can impact property prices and infrastructure
Allen Lim, Horticulturalist, Jade Garden Produce; Member & Freshwater Leaders Group
Dr Tanira Kingi, Research leader in Primary Industry Systems, Scion
Kevin Counsell, Senior Consultant, NERA Economic Consulting
Potential of regenerative practices to lessen environmental impacts of agriculture on freshwater
• Regenerative agriculture and the circular economy around farm nutrients, with direct benefits to water quality
• To what extent regenerative agriculture practices could play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future.
• How can alternative practices also align with climate resilience?
• What pathways toward redesigned agricultural systems can be accelerated by enhanced value propositions that drive investment?
Professor Troy Baisden, BOPRC Chair in Lake and Freshwater Science, University of Waikato
Morning Break
Māori responses to the Waitangi Tribunal landmark report on National Freshwater and Geothermal Resources
• What the Waitangi Tribunal report found and what happens now to achieve active protection of freshwater as the Treaty of Waitangi is believed to require
• Do Kahui Wai Māori believe the Resource Management Act has failed, or has enforcement failed?
Matthew Tukaki, Director, Māori Council
Millan Ruka, Member, Kāhui Wai Māori / Founder & Environment River Patrol Aotearoa
Introducing Te Mana o te Wai, the new policy statement from Kahui Wai Māori

First insight into Te Mana o te Wai, which is the policy statement from Kahui Wai Māori.

Millan Ruka, Kāhui Wai Māori / Environment River Patrol
A discussion of some of the challenges that face freshwater management frameworks
• A look at some of the key structural, legal and social factors that present challenges for any freshwater management system
• Consider some of the issues faced with the existing framework
• Look at some of the opportunities through the current reform process and beyond
Daniel Minhinnick, Partner, Environment, Planning and Natural Resources, Russell McVeagh
CASE STUDY: Aotearoa Water Action on water bottling and the consequences of judicial review proceedings for water allocation.
• An overview of the water bottling industry and its effects - are Government and Councils able to manage the effects?
• Is charging for water the antidote for public concern?
• Considering the effects of the way water is used - should we be deciding the best uses of a scarce resource, rather than letting a global market decide.
• Discussing the opportunities in preferential allocation - using water allocation to uphold cultural values, reduce pollution and plastic production and to create the kinds of jobs communities need.
Niki Gladding, Co-convenor, Aotearoa Water Action & member Sustainable Otakiri
Peter Richardson, Co-convenor, Aotearoa Water Action
Starting a movement to look after NZ’s waterways
Evaluating DairyNZ’s The Vision is Clear movement, which has been going for over a year, and has been achieving significant public engagement.
• Why the campaign was designed to start a movement for all Kiwis to get behind actions to look after waterways
• How The Vision is Clear has promoted work achieved by the community, individuals and farmers who are already playing a role in protecting, enhancing and doing their bit to look after rivers, beaches, lakes and streams.
• The Vision is Clear “tree-warding” activation engages with the public to take the simple step of donating a tree to do their bit to look after waterways, planted across the country in 2020.
John Willats, Head of Product & Relationships, DairyNZ
Afternoon Break
Young farmers trying to inspire change – the Waimakariri Next Generation Farmers Trust (NGF)
• Balancing water quality management with economic vibrancy in farming-dependent communities
• How an upstart group of young Canterbury farmers is bringing together all contractors and farmers affected by policies
• Why established farming cooperatives and corporations aren’t sufficiently addressing the position of young farmers
• Why better measurement and monitoring of environmental performance is the long term goal of the Next Generation Farmers
Scott Evans, Founder, Next Generation Farmers
Victoria Trayner, Founder, Next Generation Farmers
Grant Edmundson, Partner, Helmore Stewart Lawyers
Table talks: Discuss what you want from the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways

Delegates are invited to discuss what they want from the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways.

PANEL: Are localised freshwater campaigns the way of the future?
• What Fish & Game have achieved through communications campaigns around freshwater
• What planning provisions, legislation, regulation and financial support must central government give to local freshwater protection groups to protect aquifers?
• Why catchment cooperative groups are local, not central
• Supporting community-led freshwater restoration - what the Sustainable Business Network learned running Million Metres, a fundraising platform and national campaign focussed on freshwater.  
Georgina Hart, Project Lead Water, Sustainable Business Network , Sustainable Business Network
Niki Gladding, Co-convenor, Aotearoa Water Action
Martin Taylor, Chief executive, New Zealand Fish and Game Council
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference
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