Response about our freshwater clean-up recommendations

13 July 2021: We asked the Ministry for the Environment for an update on its response to recommendations we made in 2019 about the Crown’s investment in efforts to clean up New Zealand’s freshwater.

Image from the cover of our freshwater clean-up reportWe wanted this update because we are interested in providing increased public transparency on progress with addressing our recommendations. 

In 2019, our report Crown investment in freshwater clean-up looked at how well the Ministry for the Environment was administering four specific funds for Crown investment in freshwater clean-up projects.

We recommended that the Ministry for the Environment:

  • improve collaboration and co-ordination with other organisations to increase information sharing and ensure that freshwater clean-up projects are complementary and integrated;
  • promotes greater public visibility and understanding of freshwater clean-up efforts and share lessons from freshwater clean-up projects nationally;
  • prioritise current freshwater clean-up projects to develop national freshwater cultural monitoring indicators, including developing actions to improve waterways for swimming;
  • implement processes that ensure the benefits of freshwater clean-up projects are maintained after funding ends;
  • improve the contestable funding application process;
  • consider implementing a fully compatible and automated data and fund management system to improve its capacity to use and analyse the data it collects and contribute to a providing a national freshwater picture; and
  • improve the accuracy of reporting voluntary (in-kind) contributions alongside financial information, to recognise those contributions and improve the national picture of their importance to freshwater clean-up efforts.

Read what the Ministry has said about its progress with those recommendations:

We have not audited the information in the Ministry’s response. However, as with all our work, we might choose to carry out a formal follow-up audit on our recommendations, or any aspect of the 2019 audit, in the future.

We will also seek further updates on progress from the Ministry where we consider it relevant to do so.