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Water Quality Symposium - Abstracts and Papers

Below are the abstracts and some papers for the work presented at Motu’s Markets and Water Quality Symposium, held on 3 April at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. You can also view videos of all the presentations.

View and download flyer and agendaget speaker biographies.  







Coffee and tea


Opening of proceedings

Howard Fancy (Motu)


Formal welcome

Nicky Wagner (MP)


Context and overview: what are market-based instruments, and why might they be useful for managing water quality?

Suzi Kerr (Motu)

Lake Rotorua




Rotorua nutrient trading scheme proposal

Hugh McDonald (Motu)


Modelling nutrient flows into Lake Rotorua: what science is required to make these schemes work?

Kit Rutherford (NIWA)


How expensive are different water quality policies? Simulating policies using N-Manager

Simon Anastasiadis (Motu)


Morning tea


Market-based instruments and water quality



Legal issues




Nutrient trading markets and the RMA: how should we deal with compliance?

Vernon Rive (Vernon Rive Environmental Law)

Taupo nutrient trading scheme




The Taupo nutrient trading scheme 

Justine Young and Sandra Barns (Waikato Regional Council), Bruce Thorrold (DairyNZ), Mike Barton (Taupo farmer) 





What role should market-based instruments play going forward? 

Warwick Murray (BOPRC), Guy Beatson (MfE), Suzi Kerr (Motu), Bruce Thorrold (DairyNZ), Mike Barton (Taupo farmer)




Wider water quality issues

Allocation of costs and allowances


How can land quality be used to guide environmental limits and allocation?

Alex Mackay (AgResearch)


Rotorua principles and proposal for allocation

Suzi Kerr (Motu)

Learning and collaborative processes


Collaborative processes

Glen Lauder (CommonGround)


Land and Water Forum

Alastair Patrick (LAWF)


Nutrient Trading Study Group

Henry Weston (NTSG)


Learning about market instruments through participatory simulations

Jim Sinner (Cawthron)


Afternoon tea


Broader issues



Interactions with climate change policy


Interactions of water and climate change policy: a catchment level analysis

Adam Daigneault (Landcare Research)


Where to from here?

Suzie Greenhalgh (Landcare Research), Paul Stocks (MAF), Neil Deans

3:30pmSymposium ends 

Please email  if you have any queries.

Context and overview: what are market-based instruments, and why might they be useful for managing water quality?
Suzi Kerr

View and download Suzi’s presentation.

Read more about Motu’s water quality work.

Suzi Kerr is currently a senior fellow at Motu. From 1998 to 2009 she was Director and Senior Fellow at Motu. She graduated from Harvard University in 1995 with a PhD in Economics. From 1995 through 1998, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park. She has been a visiting professor at Stanford University in California, a visiting scholar at Resources for the Future (USA), Victoria University and, from January to August 2001, at the Joint Center for the Science and Policy of Global Change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During 2006, she took a sabbatical combined with maternity leave in the south of Chile. Her current research work empirically and theoretically investigates domestic and international emissions trading issues with special emphasis on land use and climate change in both the tropics and New Zealand, domestic carbon permit market design, and nutrient trading in Lake Rotorua. Her work involves theoretical analysis, simulation modelling, econometric analysis and policy design. She has run three policy dialogue processes, one in the lead up to the establishment of New Zealand’s emissions trading system, another recently completed on managing water quality, and a current process that will run for 18 months on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. 

Rotorua nutrient trading scheme proposal
Hugh McDonald

View and download Hugh’s presentation and speaking notes.

View and download the paper associated with Hugh’s presentation.

Hugh McDonald has been a Research Analyst at Motu since early 2010, following a spell as an intern in 2009. He works with Suzi Kerr on Motu’s work around nutrient trading and water quality in the Lake Rotorua catchment, along with work around incorporating agricultural emissions in New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Hugh graduated with first class honours from the University of Otago in 2009. 

Modelling nutrient flows into Lake Rotorua: what science is required to make these schemes work?
Kit Rutherford

View and download Kit’s presentation.

Kit Rutherford is an engineer with a PhD from Auckland University. He has thirty years of experience in research and consulting on the prediction of water quality in rivers, lakes and estuaries. His main interest is in developing mathematical models to address water quality issues such as dispersion, water temperature, dissolved oxygen depletion, nutrients and plant growth, and ecosystem structure and function. More recently this work has been extended to catchment scale modelling of nutrient runoff and nutrient transformations that occur in the riparian zone and the stream channel. Kit has used models to address water quality problems in rivers, lakes and estuaries, mostly in New Zealand and Australia, for a range of clients. He has been involved with the Waikato River and Lakes Rotorua and Taupo since the early 1970s with the Ministry of Works & Development, DSIR, CSIRO and NIWA and has published widely on mathematical modelling, trend analysis and mixing as it affects water quality.

How expensive are different water quality policies? Simulating policies using N-Manager
Simon Anastasiadis

View and download Simon’s presentation and speaking notes.

This paper examines six different approaches to nutrient management, and simulates the economic costs and environmental impacts associated with them using NManager, a partial equilibrium simulation model developed by Motu and NIWA, the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research. We focus on Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, where the regional council is concerned with the decline in the lake’s water quality and has set a goal to restore the lake to its condition during the 1960s.

Reaching this goal will require significant reductions in the amount of nutrients discharged into the lake, especially from non-point sources such as farm land. Managing water quality is made difficult by the presence of groundwater lags in the catchment: nutrients that leach from the soil arrive at the lake over multiple years. The mitigation schemes we consider are land retirement, requiring best practice, explicit nitrogen limits on landowners, a simple nutrient trading scheme, and two more complex trading schemes that account for groundwater lags.

We demonstrate that best practice alone is not sufficient to meet the environmental target for Lake Rotorua. Under an export trading scheme, the distribution of mitigation across the catchment is more cost effective than its distribution under explicit limits on landowners or land retirement. However, the more complex trading schemes do not result in sufficient, or sufficiently certain, gains in cost effectiveness over the simple trading scheme to justify the increase in complexity involved in their implementation.

View and download the paper associated with Simon’s presentation.

Simon Anastasiadis joined Motu as a Research Analyst towards the end of 2010. He works on the environment team, with a particular focus on water quality and emissions trading simulation models. He has a background in operations research and is presently completing a Master’s at Victoria University of Wellington.  

Nutrient trading markets and the RMA: how should we deal with compliance?
Vernon Rive

Vernon Rive is an Auckland-based environmental barrister as well as Senior Lecturer and Director of External Relations at the AUT School of Law, which he joined in 2009 after over 14 years of private practice, latterly as a partner in the Environmental/Resource Management team at the national law firm Chapman Tripp.  He is a member of the Resource Management Law Association, the New Zealand Bar Association, IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, Law and Economics Association of New Zealand and associate member of the New Zealand Planning Institute.

In 1999 Vernon completed a Masters of Environmental Law at Auckland University with First Class Honours.  In 2001, with the Grey Lynn Neighbourhood Law Office, Vernon played a major role in establishing Auckland’s first community-based resource management advice service. Vernon also hosts an environmental law blog,

The Taupo Nutrient Trading Scheme
Justine Young and Sandra Barns, Bruce Thorrold, Mike Barton

View and download Justine and Sandra’s presentation.

Justine Young (MSc Resource Management) has worked at Waikato Regional Council as a senior policy advisor for the past twelve years. Two key pieces of work have included the Council’s part in managing diffuse discharges of nitrogen in the Lake Taupō catchment, and more recently, working with the Council’s Waikato and Waipa River iwi partners on a co-governance plan change for the River catchment. Justine has also had policy development experience with District Council and central government.

Sandra Barns is an environmental economist with the Waikato Regional Council. In this role she has worked on issues including air quality, geothermal, ability to pay, property rights and economic instruments. In 2008 Sandra spent a year at the University of East Anglia on a Marie Curie fellowship, studying farmer response to water quality policy.

View and download Bruce’s presentation.

Bruce Therrold is the Strategy and Investment Leader for Productivity at DairyNZ. This role is responsible for directing the investment of $20M of dairy farmers’ levy money to deliver improved feed production and animal performance and develop improved farm systems. Bruce has a long history of being part of initiating and leading major projects focused on the future needs of the pastoral industry. Projects include the development of OVERSEER, long-term studies on farm systems and catchments in hill country (Whatawhata Catchment Project) and dairying (Best Practice Dairy Catchments) that continue to provide valuable economic and environmental data to industry stakeholders. Bruce spent 15 years with MAF and AgResearch where he worked in soil science and catchment management including hill country and lowland studies.

Bruce has also been involved with Foundation for Research, Science and Technology committees, MAF and Regional Council technical advisory groups and the National Executive of the NZ Grasslands Association. He holds a PhD in soil science from Lincoln University.

View and download Mike’s presentation.

Mike Barton lives on the north-western side of Lake Taupo, where he and his wife own a 142 ha beef finishing property. Their business plan is to grass finish 300 prime cattle per year in a way that does not harm the iconic Lake Taupo. Their farm is the site of a four year trial by AgResearch Ltd into methods of mitigating nitrogen leaching from beef farming systems. The results from this trial are expected to be available by mid 2012. Landcare Research have established a permanent deep drainage lysimeter facility on the farm.

Mike holds an MBA, for which his research project was “The Implications of a Nitrogen Cap on Farm Businesses in the Taupo Catchment”. He is currently a trustee of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust. The Trust is charged with removing 20% of the leached nitrogen from the catchment by 2018 by changing farmland to lower leaching land uses at a budgeted cost of $81million. He is a former chair of Taupo Lake Care and a keen fly fisherman.

Panel: What role should market-based instruments play going forward?
Warwick Murray, Guy Beatson, Suzi Kerr, Bruce Thorrold, Mike Barton

Warwick Murray is currently the Group Manager, Land Management with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. He is responsible for the Council’s sustainable land and coastal management programmes and is the lead Group Manager for the Rotorua Lakes Restoration Programme. He has an under-graduate degree in Valuation and Farm Management, a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management, and has had 30 years experience working in the natural resource management field for both the Department of Conservation and local government.

Guy Beatson is the Deputy Secretary Policy at the Ministry for the Environment. Guy’s responsibilities include policy advice on resource management, environment and economy, climate change, hazardous substances and new organisms.

Guy began his policy career in the Treasury and worked in senior policy roles for several governments internationally. In 2001 Guy joined the Ministry of Economic Development as Chief Economist. Subsequently he was appointed by the Ministry as its Economic Counsellor at the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra, Australia. Guy graduated from the Australian National University in 2005 with an Australia and New Zealand School of Government Executive Master of Public Administration. He also holds a Masters degree in economics from the University of Canterbury.

How can land quality be used to guide environmental limits and allocation?
Alec Mackay

View and download Alec’s presentation.

Alec Mackay is a Principal Scientist at AgResearch, based in the Grasslands campus in Palmerston North. He has a B Agric. Sci. (Hons) and a PhD in Soil Science, both from Massey University. He is a Fellow and former President of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science. Dr Mackay’s research interests include investigations into the impact of intensive pasture agriculture practices on soil organic matter, and pore function and biology as it influences both the soils provisioning and regulating services. A framework for valuing the soils natural capital and ecosystem services, developed as part of a recent study, provides a new tool in land evaluation and planning.

Rotorua principles and proposal for allocation
Suzi Kerr

View and download Suzi’s presentation.

View and download the paper Suzi’s presentation draws on. 

This paper clarifies how the benefits and costs of water quality improvements in Lake Rotorua are likely to be shared in the absence of a trading system; presents different perspectives on and principles for deciding how costs should be allocated; and then shows how different options for initially allocating nutrient allowances and achieving reductions in the cap over time conform with those cost-sharing principles.  There is no ‘correct’ answer to the question of who should pay.  The ‘best’ answer for Lake Rotorua will depend on what the community thinks is fair and what will be politically feasible. If the trading market does not operate efficiently, the way that allowances are allocated will affect the efficiency with which the catchment achieves its environmental goal.  If the allocation of allowances provides significant capital it could also affect economic behaviour by loosening capital constraints that limit land development and mitigation.

Learning and collaborative processes

Collaborative processes
Glen Lauder

Glen Lauder is the New Zealand based Director of CommonGround, a consultancy that focuses on collaborative practice. Over the last seven years he has worked at a senior level with groups at the national and international level and with groups regionally and locally in New Zealand. His close working partnership with Motu has seen him and colleagues co-design and convene the NTSG process in Rotorua, as well as a number of collaborative dialogue groups on climate change and agriculture. Over the last two and a half years he has been engaged to provide guidance to the Chair and Trustees of the Land and Water Forum, and has continued to support regional groups to develop and lead collaborative initiatives.

The Land and Water Forum
Alastair Patrick

View and download Alastair’s presentation.

Alastair Patrick has been working for the Land and Water Forum as Project Manager, responsible for managing the Forum’s Secretariat, since November 2009. Alastair is a partner in Beacon Consulting, his own contracting and consulting business. He has since 2003 carried out work across a range of sectors, including transport, energy, education, biosecurity and criminal justice. Before that Alastair was a senior manager in the Ministry of Transport, responsible for transport infrastructure policy, land transport funding and revenue policy, and public transport, aviation and shipping policy. Alastair was a board member of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority from 2005 to 2010, and Deputy Chair from 2008-2010.

The Nutrient Trading Study Group
Henry Weston

View internal and external reviews of the Nutrient Trading Study Group;s success.

Henry Weston is an independent consultant in the natural resources and Treaty of Waitangi fields. Prior to that he was the Department of Conservation’s Conservator for the East Coast and Bay of Plenty regions. He has a legal background, having started his career working for Buddle Findlay in Wellington, has worked for the Office of the Ombudsmen, had extensive experience in the Treaty of Waitangi negotiations process – both negotiating and implementing settlements on the ground – and has worked within the central government’s policy machine. He is based in Rotorua.

Learning about market instruments through participatory simulations
Jim Sinner

View and download Jim’s presentation.

Jim Sinner is a Senior Scientist in Cawthron’s Coastal and Freshwater Group in Nelson, where he applies his economics, policy and risk analysis skills to help address resource management challenges. Jim has been active in freshwater management issues since arriving in New Zealand in 1991. He is leading the “values” work stream of a 3-year MSI project on Freshwater Values, Monitoring and Outcomes, and with Landcare Research and Motu is leading a research project on “Simulating Market-Based Instruments for Freshwater Management”.

From 2002 until 2007, Jim was a Senior Fellow at Ecologic Foundation, where he led a research programme on Institutions for Sustainable Development. He previously worked as a senior policy analyst for MAF Policy in Wellington and as an independent consultant.

Interactions with climate change policy
Adam Daigneault

View and download Adam’s presentation.

Dr. Adam Daigneault is an Economic Modeller at Landcare Research in Auckland. His primary research assesses the economic impacts of environmental policy on the forestry and agricultural sectors. Prior to joining Landcare, Dr. Daigneault was an Economist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked extensively on policy analysis relating to climate change, biofuels, and international and domestic land use change. He has also worked in India, promoting rural development through diversified cropping systems and sustainable land use. Dr. Daigneault has a PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from The Ohio State University.

Panel: Where to from here?
Suzie Greenhalgh, Paul Stocks, Neil Deans, Russel Norman, Ian Mackenzie

Suzie Greenhalgh is the Portfolio Leader for Enhancing Policy Effectiveness at Landcare Research in New Zealand. Her current research involves the analysis, design and implementation of environmental and agricultural policy, the development of market-based instruments for ecosystem services (particularly water quality, biodiversity and greenhouse gases), developing frameworks to incorporate ecosystem services into decision-making, and the valuation of the impacts of invasive species in Pacific Islands. Suzie’s past research at Landcare Research also includes greenhouse gas accounting at both the regional level and also for products. Prior to joining Landcare Research Suzie worked at the World Resources Institute, an environmental policy think-tank in Washington DC where she was involved in projects focused on GHG accounting protocols; nutrient trading programmes and reverse auctions; economic valuation of coral reefs in the Caribbean; US agricultural policy as it relates to water quality, biofuels and climate change.

Suzie holds a PhD in resource economics from Ohio State University and a Master’s degree in Rural Science (soils) from the University of New England, Australia.

Paul Stocks is Deputy Director General, Policy at the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry. Paul joined MAF in 2004 as Director of the Biosecurity Strategic Unit, becoming Assistant Director General, Strategy & Performance in 2006. Prior to joining MAF Paul spent 11 years at the New Zealand Treasury, where he held a number of management roles, with responsibility for a range of areas including education, market interventions, and tax policy. Between 1997 and 1999 he was seconded to the role of Chief of Staff for the Minister of Finance. Prior to joining Treasury Paul was a policy advisor at the Ministry of Health, and an advisor at the New Zealand Planning Council. Paul took up his current position of Deputy Director-General, Policy, in September 2008.

View and download Neil’s speaking notes.

Neil Deans is a Manager at Fish & Game NZ. Neil graduated BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Canterbury in 1982 and holds a Diploma of Parks and Recreation Management. He has managed the Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game Council since 1994 and has provided national oversight for Fish and Game NZ on water resource management since 2000. He is a former President of the NZ Freshwater Sciences Society. He has overseen Water Conservation Orders on the Buller and Motueka Rivers; is on the Waimea Water Augmentation Committee; advised on National Environmental Standards for Ecological Flows and Plantation Forestry; is on the Advisory Board for Lincoln/Canterbury Universities Waterways Centre and helps oversee Canterbury’s Land Use and Water Quality Project. He has been heavily involved in the Land and Water Forum both in its earlier phase and currently. He has written and/or presented many papers or given evidence on freshwater resource management here and overseas in Australia, Canada, Scotland, Sweden and South Africa.

Dr Russel Norman is a Green MP and co-leader of the Green Party. Russel is the Greens’ spokesperson on economics and finance, and sits on Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee. One of New Zealand’s preeminent fresh water campaigners, Russel is a vocal advocate for cleaning up and protecting our rivers, lakes and wetlands. He also believes that making our clean and green brand a reality holds the key to more coherent economic development for Aotearoa. Russel entered politics in order to save the world - he thinks there’s still a bit of a way to go.

View and download Ian’s speaking notes.

Ian MacKenzie is Federated Farmers Grain & Seed chairperson. Ian holds a B.Ag.Sc from Lincoln University, was Nuffield Farming Scholar 1993, and now farms south-east of Ashburton, growing grain, herbage and vegetable seeds, lamb fattening and now a dairy farm all under irrigation. He is Chairman of the Eiffelton Irrigation Scheme, Ashburton Community Water Trust, Mid Canterbury Farmers’ Charitable Trust and the NZ Grain and Seed Section of Federated Farmers; deputy Chairman of Ashburton Trading Society; and a director of Mackenzie Harvesting, board member of Irrigation NZ and spokesman for the national board of Federated Farmers on water and the environment. He is a participant on the Land and Water forum.

For more information about the Markets and Water Quality Symposium, contact Hugh McDonald. You can also read more about Motu’s Nutrient Trading and Water Quality Symposium.