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Submission on water conservation order on Ngaruroro River and Clive River

RWNZ has made a submission on an application to the Minister for the Environment for a water conservation order on the Ngaruroro River and Clive River, pursuant to Section 201(1) of the Resource Management Act 1991.

RWNZ opposes aspects of the application for the water conservation order that propose to limit the take of water from the lower River, in particular below Whanawhana. Consistent with other applications submitted (eg: Irrigation NZ, HB Fruitgrowers, and Horticulture NZ) we oppose the application applying to connected groundwater of the Ngaruroro River and consider that the applicants have not defined the nature or extent of the groundwater they propose to be covered by the order. 

Should the Tribunal determine that the application is appropriate for the lower River, we oppose the range of controls and prohibitions suggested within the draft order for the stretch below Whanawhana Cableway. We propose that an alternative range of controls, limits and restrictions be considered that are enabling of food, fibre and wine production values.

We consider that food, wine and fibre production are values that are integral to the cultural identity and economic wellbeing of the local communities and any revised water conservation order should consider the protection of those values because they are outstanding, both nationally and regionally.

We note that the applicants have failed to consider the needs of rural families and communities who derive their livelihood from primary and secondary production. The region is a food producing region and many rural families and communities are dependent on and involved in the primary or secondary production industries and their service industries in some way.

It is apparent to us that the applicants have not given due consideration to the downstream consequences of reducing the ability for producers of food, fibre and wine to have access to the necessary water to grow their crops. We need to ensure that crops are viable and the irrigation of crops is fundamental to that viability, especially in low rainfall seasons.  

RWNZ recognises that it is sometimes difficult to balance the environmental interests and the interests of recreation users and growers and producers. We submit that the interests of people who make a living from the land and the communities that derive their living from the production and manufacture of primary produce must be fairly factored into the equation.

Should the application be approved as submitted it would have the effect of disadvantaging the economic welfare of both the producers of wine and food and the other local businesses that gain their income from the revenue generated by the producers.

Click here to download the Submission.


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(Pictured above: Minister Damien O'Çonnor meeting with RWNZ Chief Executive Officer Penelope England, National President Fiona Gower, National Chair Penny Mudford and Manager of Government, Public Sector and Academic Relationships Angela McLeod.)


Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release supporting the recent announcement to reintegrate rural proofing into policy development. Please read the media release below. 



Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is pleased to see rural proofing is back on the table and being included in the Government’s policy work.

“Understanding the impact that Government policies, service delivery and business behaviour have on our rural communities is not only vital to the success of the rural economy, it builds and maintains our rural social fabric,” says RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower.

“RWNZ has been calling for rural impact analyses to be carried out in both the public and private sector because decisions have, and are being made that have a detrimental effect on rural communities.

“As a member of the advisory group that supported the development of the Government’s new Rural Proofing Guide for Policy Development and Service Delivery Planning, RWNZ is encouraged by the final document.

“RWNZ will continue to work alongside the Government, its agencies and entities to ensure successful implementation of the Rural Proofing Guide.

“The Government’s new rural proofing policy guidelines will go a long way to alleviating poor policy development and service delivery, and RWNZ is looking forward to seeing better outcomes for rural communities,” says Ms Gower.



For further information, please contact National Office:

[email protected]





Rural Proofing Back On the Table

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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The Government has announced the decision of phased eradication of Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis). The announcement was made yesterday afternoon, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister Damien O'Connor, alongside RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower and representatives from Federated Farmers, Beef and Lamb NZ, and Dairy NZ (pictured above).

RWNZ encourages anyone needing assistance to contact the Rural Support Trust and recommends following updates from MPI. It is important to support others in your community through this eradication phase.

Read below our media release following yesterday's announcement. 




Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) will continue to support communities following the Government’s decision on phased eradication of Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis) from New Zealand.

“RWNZ is collaborating with the Government, MPI, Rural Support Trust, and industry leaders to support our rural communities, families, women and children given today's decision," says RWNZ National President Fiona Gower.

“The decision to phase eradication of M.bovis has been made by Cabinet after consultation by Minister O'Connor with industry leaders.

“RWNZ is committed to ensuring there is wrap-around welfare support for those affected – we understand that high stress in times of crisis can lead to a breakdown of our social rural fabric.

“Strategic, regular, and thoughtful communications between decision makers, support networks, and communities is vital.

"By working together, we can do this," says Ms Gower.


Rural Support Trust Chairperson, Neil Bateup says that Rural Support Trust and RWNZ will be working together to support our rural communities.

"Rural Support Trust is available 24/7 for free, confidential support on 0800 787 254. The welfare of farmers, their families and staff are of upmost importance to all of us. Do not be afraid to reach out if you need us," he says.


For a full list of support services visit our here

Read the Prime Minister and Minister's full media release here for further information regarding the decision.

Read Fiona's media statement here.



Mycoplasma bovis announcement

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

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Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release following the announcement this morning that the Government are giving a funding boost to help improve child and family wellbeing. 


Read the relevant media here.



The announcement this morning that the Government will be giving family violence services a boost of $76.2 million is a step in the right direction for our women and families, says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“New Zealand’s rate of violence against women and children is unacceptable – it is great to see the Government increasing support services for women, families, and communities in need," says RWNZ National Chair, Penny Mudford.

The Government also announced that additional funding in 2019/2020 would enable services to expand into areas where there is currently no support.

“Women and children living in rural New Zealand have particular challenges and can be vulnerable to physical and psychological abuse due to their geographic and social isolation.

“For some, living rurally means they are some distance from their families and whānau and do not have the support that the wider family can provide.

“Family violence victims in rural New Zealand do not have the same level of access to psychological and legal support as urban women and children do, due to living rurally.

“RWNZ hope that this boost announced by the Government will be used to empower our rural communities by giving women and children who are victims of violence the help and support they so badly need,” says Ms Mudford.


Rural Women New Zealand have released a media release raising our concerns for how data is being collected in this year's census.

Please read the media release below.


This year’s census is in danger of not providing the data needed to make good decisions, says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“Whilst we understand and support the excitement of capturing our census data online, our concern is that many people still do not have access to internet while others might not have the capability or capacity to do so,” says National President, Fiona Gower.

“The timing of the delivery of access code letters, which indicate that New Zealanders can opt for paper forms presents challenges for our rural communities, given that delivery of mail is taking longer and might only be delivered three days a week.

“The chances of a rural household without internet or with unreliable internet, receiving census paper forms in time for Tuesday, 6 March is slim, and that is concerning.

“RWNZ is doing everything possible to ensure our networks are aware of the new way of doing the Census although surely more thought should have gone in to how the valuable information about the lives and status of New Zealanders would be collected.

“Maybe this year, there could have been a concerted effort to use both electronic collection and paper collection to ensure integrity of the data,” says Ms Gower.



Please contact the National Office for more information.



National Office

Rural Women New Zealand


[email protected]

04 473 5524



(image source: www.census.govt.nz)

Census Data Collection Integrity Questioned

Monday, February 26, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand have released a media release raising our concerns for how data is being collected in this year's census.  Read More

Rural Women New Zealand has today released a media release following the announcement that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will move to shut down if it does not receive funding.

Read the announcement here.  




Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) are saddened to see that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will cease operating if it does not receive government funding next week.


“RWNZ supports the work already done by RHAANZ in bringing together various rural groups and rural health providers to develop initiatives for rural communities,” says RWNZ Board Member and Health Portfolio Convenor, Margaret Pittaway.

“Remarkable work has been done to deliver the Rural Health Road Map which sets out a plan and priorities for achieving healthily rural communities.

“Being geographically isolated, often with significant distance to the nearest town or health centre means that rural communities have an immediate need of affordable and reliable access to all health services.

“The Government has committed to rural proofing government policy, and RHAANZ has a vital part to play in this development – without the continuation of RHAANZ, and the work it does, rural communities will go backwards.

“There is no other place where issues impacting the health and wellbeing of rural communities are considered concurrently, and the loss of achievements met and efforts made by RHAANZ will be detrimental for our rural people.

RWNZ urges the Government to recognise the good work that has been done by RHAANZ and to support its continuation," says Mrs Pittaway.




Another setback for health and wellbeing of rural communities.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand has today released a media release following the announcement that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will move to shut down if it does not receive funding. Read More

Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release regarding our involvement to help support communities affected by the M.bovis outbreak. With 38 farms currently infected, and others under movement control, we encourage farmers to contact their local Rural Support Trust and visit MPI’s website for advice and support.


Read more about this here.

Read the media release below.




  Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) has offered their full support to the Government for communities that are affected by the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) outbreak. This announcement was made in a meeting earlier this week with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor, and Waikato dairy farmers, then reiterated with industry leaders.


“Our rural communities are really hurting in this unprecedented biosecurity outbreak – it is vital they are supported throughout this response, no matter what future plan is decided next week,” says RWNZ National President Fiona Gower.

“From what I saw on Monday and what we are hearing from our members and others in the industry, it is clear that the response to M. bovis is upsetting and we are pleased to have been able to offer our support.

“Since 1925, RWNZ members have been the glue that holds rural communities together and nearly 100 years later we continue by working with Rural Support Trusts, visiting farming families, and offering funding for adverse events.

“The decision to offer our full support comes from recent meetings with industry leaders and the Minister, and from our many years’ experience supporting rural communities.

“We are pleased that RWNZ can continue our tradition of charitable giving and we look forward to working with the Government and industry to ensure rural communities are fully supported through the M. bovis outbreak,” says Ms Gower.