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COVID-19 response provides once-in-a-generation opportunity for water sector


4 May 2020

Water New Zealand says the Government’s post COVID-19 response is a once-in a generation opportunity to improve the sustainable long term performance of the water sector.

Acting CEO, John Mackie is welcoming the decision to fast track eligible development and infrastructure through amendments to the Resource Management Act.

He says this is an opportunity to do better than business-as-usual by allowing for more agile procurement processes to get much-needed infrastructure programmes underway as soon as possible.

“There has been a huge lag in the development of sustainable infrastructure, particularly around drinking, waste and stormwater.

“Immediate work could be focused on employment-intensive renewals, growth projects, planned maintenance, riparian planting and flood protection, which are ‘no regrets’ investments.

“We’re pleased to see that the Government has highlighted such things as sediment removal fromsilted rivers and estuaries, new wetland construction land and flood management works as programmes that would benefit from quicker consenting processes.

“As part of a collaboration of not-for-profit organisations made up of Infrastructure New Zealand, Irrigation New Zealand, the Quake Centre and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (‘IPWEA NZ’) , Water New Zealand recently urged the government to support a collaborative works programmes to allow or large water infrastructure programmes such as water storage and other well being initiatives."

He says that integrating environmental protection, ensuring mana whenua representation and embedding the values of Te Mana o te Wai into new arrangements would need to be an essential element of any new fast-track modelof design and delivery of new water infrastructure.