Transforming freshwater governing

SESSION: Thursday 20th April
Charlotte Drury

Change in freshwater governing is necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of New Zealand's freshwater resources. It is a challenge that New Zealand has not yet met and finding a more effective way of governing freshwater is a critical component of any successful New Zealand planning system.

In her doctoral research Charlotte explored the lived experiences of change of farmers and a regional council - two key groups involved in New Zealand's freshwater governing and management. The qualitative case study was located in Hawke's Bay's Tukituki Catchment where a catchment planning process had recently been completed.

Charlotte found that the regional council was not actively governing farmer participants. Farmers were changing their freshwater management practices, but in response to broader societal pressures, not the active governing of the regional council. Changes that farmers made were shaped by farmer networks and localised good farming norms linked with farmer identity.

She found that the regional council was grappling with how to transform itself from an entity that historically had a hands-off approach to governing farmers to one that actively governed farmers as this required organisational transformation. It also necessitated a fundamental renegotiation of the relationship between farmers and the council. Charlotte found that the depth of change necessary, both of individuals within the council and collectively of the organisation, was significant. The need for such transformational change within the very organisations requiring change of farmers is not something that had previously been recognised and allowing the time and space for this to occur is arguably necessary to enable improvements in freshwater governing to be realised

Presented By

Charlotte Drury

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