Chief Freshwater Commissioner

Chief Freshwater Commissioner

The Chief Freshwater Commissioner (‘Chief’) is appointed by the Minister for the Environment and must be a current or retired Environment Court Judge.

The Chief oversees the scheduling of freshwater hearings, convening each freshwater hearings panel, and managing the group of freshwater commissioners.

The Chief has the following powers and functions:

  • deciding when freshwater hearings panels are to be convened
  • determining the appropriate size and composition of a freshwater hearings panel
  • considering council and tangata whenua nominations to a freshwater hearings panel
  • appointing members to a freshwater hearings panel, including the chairperson who may be the Chief
  • approving or declining requests from the chair of a freshwater hearings panel or a regional council to extend any part of the two-year freshwater planning process, including approving the request but with a different timeframe
  • to direct that a hearings panel be split into two panels to hear a freshwater planning instrument, and to appoint additional chairpersons if required
  • to notify, remove and appoint new members to a freshwater hearings panel
  • to accept or reject a variation to the freshwater planning instrument made after the council has provided documentation.