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Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister for the Environment

26 May 2016

New $100m fund to improve water quality

A new fund of $100 million of operating funding over 10 years will support initiatives to clean up New Zealand's rivers, lakes and aquifers, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“There are significant costs for councils and landowners in meeting the Government's new national standards for freshwater. This new contestable fund of $100 million will help communities improve water quality standards.”

The Freshwater Improvement Fund is part of a broader package of measures to strengthen new national standards, introduce new stock exclusion rules, improve Māori participation and introduce new requirements for minimising nutrient losses and efficient water use.

“This fund will help communities achieve their desired water quality and quantity limits faster. Recognising the importance of private investment, priority will be given to projects that include funding from business or philanthropic funds. By encouraging this funding now we can achieve significant results for New Zealand and minimise the long-term clean-up costs,” Dr Smith says.

“The Freshwater Improvement Fund is in addition to $354 million already committed to specific freshwater clean-up projects since 2000, including at Lake Taupo, the Waikato and Waipa rivers, Rotorua lakes, the Manawatu River, Lake Te Waihora (Ellesmere), Waituna Lagoon and Lake Brunner.”

“We are showing that with government funding and strong community partnerships we can improve freshwater quality,” Dr Smith says.

“This new fund is about maintaining momentum in improving New Zealand's freshwater management.”

Media contact: Sharon Lundy 021 522 032

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