Make sure the government hears your voice on their planned amendments of the Resource Management Act. Their proposal risks destroying waterways, enabling coal mining in wetlands and delaying protection of our precious biodiversity.  

Submissions close this Sunday at 11:59pm - make sure your voice is heard!

Creating a submission is your opportunity to share your perspective with decision makers, and you can do this within minutes. Below we’ve created a quick explainer, with instructions on how to create a submission on the planned amendments to the Resource Management Act.


Why does this matter? 

Our rivers and lakes are a key part of what makes Aotearoa New Zealand such a beautiful place to live. Due to decades of neglect, many of our rivers and lakes are unsafe to swim in, whilst native freshwater species that depend upon the health of our water face extinction. We have already lost around 90% of our wetlands in the past 150 years, and this decline is continuing. Wetlands are vital for the survival of many of our taonga bird species, yet they are among our most degraded ecosystems.   

Amidst our climate and biodiversity crisis, this Government is proposing to put commercial interests above the health of our planet. This Bill will make it easier to open new coal mines, including in areas of indigenous biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it clear that if we want to limit global warming within the 1.5 degrees tipping point, we must be phasing out the use of fossil fuels, not opening more mines.  

What is the Government trying to do?

The Government has put forward a Bill under urgency that will weaken rules that prevent our waterways from being polluted and protect our native species, including:   

  1. Prioritising economic interests over the health and wellbeing of waterways and freshwater ecosystems by removing the hierarchy of obligations of Te Mana o Te Wai from consent processes under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This means decision makers will no longer need to consider the health and wellbeing of freshwater when deciding whether to grant consents to take or pollute water. 
  2. Enabling consenting pathways that could allow for coal mining in and around wetlands and Significant Natural Areas  
  3. Removing the requirement for councils to identify Significant Natural Area under the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.   
  4. Allowing more pollution to runoff into our waterways by amending stock exclusion regulations in relation to low slope land.   
  5. Permitting winter grazing by default (in regions without controls in their plans) by removing regulations under the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater.   

 What can I do about it?  

  • We have created this guide to help you understand the Bill and draft your own submission to the Select Committee.  
  • You can decide if you want to make an in-person submission to the Select Committee. If you have a close connection to a river, your story is important to tell. We encourage you to make an in-person submission if you can. 
  • The more you put your submission into your own words the better.  
Make a submission here

What could my submission say?

Under "I/We wish to make the following comments", set out your overall position on the bill. Wording we suggest is: 

"I strongly oppose this Bill. I request that the Primary Production Select Committee recommend the Bill does not proceed through further stages in Parliament." 

Make your recommendation:  

Under "I/We wish to make the following recommendations"  

Choose the issues you’re most concerned about and want to mention in your submission and use the prompts below to set out your concerns. Remember to try write your submission in your own words where possible. Tell the Select Committee about your personal experience, for example with your local rivers or lakes.

Most importantly, make it clear that you oppose the amendments.   

You may also wish to highlight to the Primary Production Select Committee that the Bill has had very little engagement with iwi hapū or Māori. Ask the Committee to consider the Crown’s commitment to Māori on freshwater rights and interests and Māori interests in maintaining indigenous biodiversity.  

Specific changes you could ask the Select Committee to consider: 

1. Retain consideration for the hierarchy of Te Mana o te Wai obligations in consenting processes and decisions.  

This Bill should not remove Te Mana o te Wai hierarchy of obligations from resource consent decision making and consent application processes. Te Mana o te Wai is critical for prioritising the health of water, above all other uses of water, and is one of the only ways to stop pollution of waterways at the source. Excluding the hierarchy of obligations from consent applications and decision making will enable commercial and private interests to more easily pollute our waterways.   

   2. Maintain the controls on coal mining consenting.  

We are in a climate crisis; new legislation should not be opening-up easier pathways for coal mine consenting, especially when those mines may be in or around wetlands. In a global biodiversity crisis, every piece of protection counts.  

  3. Maintain the requirements for councils to identify areas of significant biodiversity by 2028

Delaying requirements for councils to identify significant natural areas and include them in plans for another 3 years (till 2031) means less of our indigenous biodiversity will be protected and restored.  

4. Retain stock exclusion regulations in relation to sloped land.  

Amending stock exclusion regulations in relation to low slope land may further pollute our waterways. Livestock entering water bodies can cause a range of negative impacts on the health of waterways, and people (e.g., recreational swimmers encountering water with elevated E. Coli levels). Regulating the access of cattle, pigs, and deer to water bodies is essential in keeping our waterways healthy.   

   5. Maintain that consents should be required for intensive winter grazing.  

Repealing intensive winter grazing regulations means regions without controls on the activity in their plans will see a return to winter grazing being permitted by default, without conditions. Winter grazing can have serious negative effects on both animal welfare and the environment, particularly freshwater and estuary health. Winter grazing causes avoidable pollution to rivers and streams, compacted soils as well as increased emissions from over stocking. Alongside this pollution, cows will suffer in tough conditions, cramped and wallowing in mud where they cannot lie down comfortably.   


This is your opportunity to stand up for the environment and let the government know you don’t accept their anti-Tiriti and anti-environment agenda. Make sure you get your submission in before 11.59pm on Sunday, 30 June 2024.