Amendments to the Tax Income Act passed by Parliament today will make a big difference to efforts to improve freshwater quality, according to environmental policy specialists at Greater Wellington Regional Council.
The Government's decision to allow farmers to deduct the cost of riparian planting as an operational expense highlights the significance that is being placed on protecting our freshwater and shows it is very serious about improving water quality nationally.
The council has welcomed freshwater reforms over recent years, and has increased its emphasis on managing Wellington's freshwater and the land based activities that impact on regional waterways and lakes.
"Sound freshwater management is essential to provide for New Zealand's economic development and growth, and to protect our social and cultural values. We all need to work together to achieve what we want for this resource," says manager environmental policy, Jonathon Streat.
On a regional basis the council works closely with the farming sector to help manage the environmental impacts such as sediment and nutrient discharges into waterways and lakes. It also provides land and environment planning support and offers financial incentives for planting.
More recently a new way of managing freshwater resources has been established by the Regional Council to ensure iwi and local people are involved right up front in the planning process. Five community advisory groups called whaitua (catchment) committees are being set up. The committees will be tasked with setting a vision for their lakes and waterways and a course of action to achieve it.