Implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (Te Mana o te Wai) for Auckland

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About the statement

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM 2020) is a Government policy that sets the direction on how freshwater should be managed in New Zealand.

This is the fourth version of the NPSFM. Earlier documents were introduced in 2011, 2014, and 2017.

It applies to all freshwater bodies including:

  • rivers
  • streams
  • lakes
  • wetlands
  • springs
  • aquifer / groundwater.

How the NPSFM 2020 requires Auckland Council to manage freshwater

The NPSFM's fundamental concept is Te Mana o te Wai. This refers to the importance and wellbeing of water.

It prioritises:

  • First, the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems.
  • Second, the health needs for people, such as drinking water.
  • Third, the ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing, now and in the future.

These priorities were introduced by central Government. They aim to restore and preserve the balance between water, the wider environment, and our communities.

Amending the Auckland Unitary Plan and developing action plans

We need to amend the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) and develop action plans to give effect to the NPSFM including Te Mana o te Wai.

This will affect how we:

  • use and develop land where it affects freshwater. For example, by discharging sediment.
  • use and protect freshwater. For example, to ensure threatened species can flourish.

Action plans must be prepared as soon as practicable.

Changes to the rules and other parts of the AUP must be notified by the end of December 2024.

Engaging our community

The NPSFM 2020 requires us to engage with our local community.

This is so we can understand the values and environmental outcomes our community wants for freshwater management.

This consultation is the first in a series of engagements.

What we want your feedback on

The NPSFM outlines four compulsory values for freshwater management.

  • Ecosystem health - with five key components:
    1. water quality
    2. water quantity
    3. habitat
    4. aquatic life
    5. ecological processes.
  • Human contact - people enjoying and connecting with water.
  • Threatened species - preserving critical habitats and conditions necessary to support the presence, abundance, survival, and recovery of our threatened species.
  • Mahinga kai - maintaining water bodies that provide food that is safe to eat, keeping the mauri (life force) of the area intact.

In addition, there are other values we need to consider:

  • Natural form and character - naturally occurring qualities that our community values about a water body, such as the colour and clarity of water.
  • Drinking water supply.
  • Wai tapu - places of significance to tangata whenua.
  • Transport and tauranga waka - places where boats can be launched and landed.
  • Fishing - places that are valued for fishing.
  • Animal drinking water.
  • Irrigation, cultivation, and production of food and beverages.
  • Commercial and industrial use of water.

We want you to tell us how important these freshwater values are to you, either for a particular water body or a whole area.

We would also like to know what you would like to see achieved in the future.

You can ask us questions about the NPSFM by attending an online meeting on:

How you can have your say

You can have your say from 9am on 13 June until 5pm on 17 July 2022.

You can have your say by:

  • completing our online feedback form
  • identifying a body of water or area on a map, and leaving a comment on our mapping platform Social Pinpoint
  • providing written feedback by email to freshwaterplanning@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
  • posting your completed form or written feedback to: Auckland Council Unitary Plan Team, Freshwater Planning, Private Bag 92300, Victoria Street West, Auckland, 1142
  • providing feedback at your local library or at a drop-in event in your area:
    1. Pukekohe Library, 18 June 2022 (11am –1pm)
    2. Warkworth Library, 18 June 2022, (11am – 1pm)
    3. Central Library, 2 July 2022 (11am - 1pm)
    4. Te Manawa-Westgate Community Centre, 2 July 2022 (11am – 1pm)
    5. Takapuna Library, 2 July 2022 (11am – 1pm)
    6. Botany Library, 2 July 2022 (11am – 1pm).

Mana whenua engagement

Engagement with mana whenua is ongoing and undertaken through a separate process.

What happens next

A summary of the feedback will be made available on AK Have your Say following the consultation.

We will use your feedback to develop draft objectives, environmental outcomes and action plans. These will relate to the way we manage land and water under the AUP. They will be consulted on in 2023.

There will also be an opportunity to lodge submissions to the proposed AUP changes when it is publicly notified in late 2024.


Your name and feedback may be published in Auckland Council reports and online. All other personal details will remain private.

By using this platform, you have agreed to Auckland Council’s Privacy Policy.

For more information, see Is my privacy protected?

About the statement

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM 2020) is a Government policy that sets the direction on how freshwater should be managed in New Zealand.

This is the fourth version of the NPSFM. Earlier documents were introduced in 2011, 2014, and 2017.

It applies to all freshwater bodies including:

  • rivers
  • streams
  • lakes
  • wetlands
  • springs
  • aquifer / groundwater.

How the NPSFM 2020 requires Auckland Council to manage freshwater

The NPSFM's fundamental concept is Te Mana o te Wai. This refers to the importance and wellbeing of water.

It prioritises:

  • First, the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems.
  • Second, the health needs for people, such as drinking water.
  • Third, the ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing, now and in the future.

These priorities were introduced by central Government. They aim to restore and preserve the balance between water, the wider environment, and our communities.

Amending the Auckland Unitary Plan and developing action plans

We need to amend the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) and develop action plans to give effect to the NPSFM including Te Mana o te Wai.

This will affect how we:

  • use and develop land where it affects freshwater. For example, by discharging sediment.
  • use and protect freshwater. For example, to ensure threatened species can flourish.

Action plans must be prepared as soon as practicable.

Changes to the rules and other parts of the AUP must be notified by the end of December 2024.

Engaging our community

The NPSFM 2020 requires us to engage with our local community.

This is so we can understand the values and environmental outcomes our community wants for freshwater management.

This consultation is the first in a series of engagements.

What we want your feedback on

The NPSFM outlines four compulsory values for freshwater management.

  • Ecosystem health - with five key components:
    1. water quality
    2. water quantity
    3. habitat
    4. aquatic life
    5. ecological processes.
  • Human contact - people enjoying and connecting with water.
  • Threatened species - preserving critical habitats and conditions necessary to support the presence, abundance, survival, and recovery of our threatened species.
  • Mahinga kai - maintaining water bodies that provide food that is safe to eat, keeping the mauri (life force) of the area intact.

In addition, there are other values we need to consider:

  • Natural form and character - naturally occurring qualities that our community values about a water body, such as the colour and clarity of water.
  • Drinking water supply.
  • Wai tapu - places of significance to tangata whenua.
  • Transport and tauranga waka - places where boats can be launched and landed.
  • Fishing - places that are valued for fishing.
  • Animal drinking water.
  • Irrigation, cultivation, and production of food and beverages.
  • Commercial and industrial use of water.

We want you to tell us how important these freshwater values are to you, either for a particular water body or a whole area.

We would also like to know what you would like to see achieved in the future.

You can ask us questions about the NPSFM by attending an online meeting on:

How you can have your say

You can have your say from 9am on 13 June until 5pm on 17 July 2022.

You can have your say by:

  • completing our online feedback form
  • identifying a body of water or area on a map, and leaving a comment on our mapping platform Social Pinpoint
  • providing written feedback by email to freshwaterplanning@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
  • posting your completed form or written feedback to: Auckland Council Unitary Plan Team, Freshwater Planning, Private Bag 92300, Victoria Street West, Auckland, 1142
  • providing feedback at your local library or at a drop-in event in your area:
    1. Pukekohe Library, 18 June 2022 (11am –1pm)
    2. Warkworth Library, 18 June 2022, (11am – 1pm)
    3. Central Library, 2 July 2022 (11am - 1pm)
    4. Te Manawa-Westgate Community Centre, 2 July 2022 (11am – 1pm)
    5. Takapuna Library, 2 July 2022 (11am – 1pm)
    6. Botany Library, 2 July 2022 (11am – 1pm).

Mana whenua engagement

Engagement with mana whenua is ongoing and undertaken through a separate process.

What happens next

A summary of the feedback will be made available on AK Have your Say following the consultation.

We will use your feedback to develop draft objectives, environmental outcomes and action plans. These will relate to the way we manage land and water under the AUP. They will be consulted on in 2023.

There will also be an opportunity to lodge submissions to the proposed AUP changes when it is publicly notified in late 2024.


Your name and feedback may be published in Auckland Council reports and online. All other personal details will remain private.

By using this platform, you have agreed to Auckland Council’s Privacy Policy.

For more information, see Is my privacy protected?

  • Freshwater Management Areas

    The NPS-FM requires us to identify Freshwater Management Units (FMUs). A Freshwater Management Unit (FMU) is all or any part of a water body or bodies, and their related catchments that a regional council determines is an appropriate unit for freshwater management. 

    We have identified three FMUs as broad freshwater management areas for Auckland. Smaller management areas can be provided for within a FMU, where this is considered the best way to manage water.

    If you would like to provide feedback on Auckland’s FMUs, you can provide it in page 2 of the feedback form.

    Specified Vegetable Growing Area at Pukekohe

    The NPS-FM provides for a specified vegetable growing area at Pukekohe. In managing freshwater, we have to consider the importance of this area to the domestic supply of vegetables and maintaining food security for New Zealand.

    The three FMUs and the Pukekohe vegetable growing area are shown on the map [FMU and Pukekohe map].

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Page last updated: 23 Jun 2022, 03:45 PM