New Zealand's most prized asset - its famous environment - is under more pressure than ever. Regardless of which party leads the next government after Saturday, five major groups tell the Herald what issues they want to see tackled or fixed.
Kevin Hague, Forest & Bird chief executive.
New Zealand's environment is at breaking point.
Our way of life relies on a healthy environment, so we need to start protecting nature. As a start, all government chief executives should be required to implement Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020.
We need a government that will put an end to mining and other destructive activities on conservation land, including our precious stewardship land.
If New Zealand cannot stop harming land already set aside for our native species, what hope is there for any other environmental aspiration?
The government must gazette the full National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity and strengthen the National Policy Statement on Freshwater with better water quality standards – and then help local councils implement them.
Wider resource management reform needs to learn from past mistakes, have stronger environmental bottom lines, and include a focus on restoring damaged ecosystems.
The Zero Carbon Act will become real with the Climate Change Commission writing a carbon budget for New Zealand and the government writing an Adaptation Plan.
New Zealand will need an ambitious programme to cut emissions and both this plans must put nature at the centre of decisions.
Our ocean ecosystems need better protection and management. A new Marine Protected Areas law will help do this.
We can bring abundance back to the oceans by managing ecosystems, not just commercial fish stocks. Bottom trawling and set netting must start to be phased out, and all commercial fishing vessels should have cameras or observers.
Economic levers should encourage sustainable decisions and discourage unsustainable ones. It's time for better environmental taxes or levies that cover emissions; water pollution; water abstraction; solid waste; and road transport.
Underpinning all this work, the Government will need to work closely with mana whenua and mana moana, the primary sector, and non-government organisations (NGOs) to transform the primary sector, so it also has nature at its heart.
Amanda Larsson, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner
There has never been a greater need to transform our economy and society so that they work in harmony with nature.
Now with the recovery from Covid-19, there has never been a greater opportunity either.
To keep people in work and all our heads above water, the Government is pumping billions into the economy.
We have the means to realise a new vision for Aotearoa New Zealand.
Public polling shows that most New Zealanders want a green recovery and there is no shortage of ideas for how to do it. The deciding factor will be political will.
Here's what our next Government must do to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
• Replace the current industrial agriculture system with regenerative farming - here we farm in harmony with nature. Intensive dairying is New Zealand's biggest source of climate and water pollution.
The next government must phase out synthetic fertiliser and set up a $1bn fund to support farmers to make the switch.
• Protecting and restoring oceans is one of our best defences against climate change.
The Government must ban bottom trawling on vulnerable marine ecosystems and put cameras on all commercial fishing vessels, so that big fishing companies operate legally and transparently.
• Replace fossil fuels with locally-produced and owned renewable energy.
That means massive investments in electric railways, public transport, cycleways and electric vehicles.
To power all this clean transport, we need investment in new solar and wind energy, owned by people and communities.
• Create a circular economy, replacing unnecessary single-use products like plastic drink bottles with long lasting reusable and refillable options.
We're at a fork in the road.
Business as usual will lock us into further devastation. Instead we have the chance to restore the natural systems we depend on to survive - from the climate, to healthy soils, to abundant oceans and clean water.
To build an Aotearoa New Zealand where native forests are rebounding, where we power our homes with clean energy and our streets are safe for walking and biking.
Gary Taylor, chairman, Environmental Defence Society
The biggest environmental issue in this election is the response to the Randerson report.
What is needed is multi-party consensus to act to replace the Resource Management Act with the range of new laws that Randerson recommended.
More strategic planning, fewer plans, faster and more focused decision-making and continued integrated management of resources are important deliverables, as is a shift away from environmental effects towards outcomes subject to bottom lines and limits.
Those reforms will reshape the way we manage our natural and built environments for another generation.
So it's crucial that we get it right, do it once, not politicise the options and proceed in a calm, measured and intelligent way but with pace.
Climate change remains the other existential challenge for New Zealand and the world.
We need to make progress towards net zero and some of the Covid-19 infra projects can help.
The electricity sector is in flux with Tiwai closing, improved transmission capacity, potential stored hydro helping to reduce reliance on coal and gas and provide faster deployment of low carbon transport solutions.
Rail upgrades an important part of that portfolio of issues.
On freshwater, we have the policy platform in place and now need to shift emphasis to implementation.
Like iwi and other NGO groups, EDS supports the creation of a Freshwater Commission to provide robust implementation oversight of regional councils.
Failure to strengthen implementation will risk bad plans and continued pollution.
On oceans, that's the last frontier in terms of needing a modern policy makeover.
We need to rethink the way we manage our large ocean resource and how to better protect marine mammals and seabirds whilst still feeding people on a really sustainable basis.
At present too much of our fishing activity is mining the resource to unsustainable limits.
Martin Taylor, chief executive, Fish & Game New Zealand
As a new government is formed, it is clear the environment – particularly water quality in our lakes rivers and streams - is one of the major policy issues for the next term.
It certainly figured prominently in the election campaign, with intense media and social media debate.
The rural community's fears were fuelled by disinformation on the election trail spread by politicians and industry groups all too ready to make the most of rural uncertainty and anxiety.
We need to accept in the last 20 years that the public has seen successive governments support Federated Farmers, Fonterra and DairyNZ's aspirational goals and promises.
However, over 20 years, these aspirational goals and promises have resulted in more intensive agriculture that has degraded our rivers and drinking water quality across New Zealand.
It's time to put the health of people and nature at the heart of policy and protect the public interest.
Colmar Brunton surveys have shown year on year that no matter where New Zealanders live, in town or country, water quality is one of the most significant issues on their minds.
Four out of five voters want our rivers, lakes and streams to be cleaner.
They want to be able to swim in their favourite swimming holes, they want to be able to fish, and they want to be able to gather enough kai for a decent feed.
The good news is the Jacinda Ardern-led Government has started to address these issues.
The new National Policy Statement and National Environmental Standard for Freshwater, is a significant step forward in reducing pollution in our rural and urban waterways caused by intensive farming and through regional council neglect.
However, to stop the degradation of our waterways, the implementation will be critical.
There is much work to be done by regional councils. If some regional councils operate as they have in the past, as confirmed by the recent Local Government NZ independent report on councils' compliance, monitoring and enforcement functions, then they could scuttle New Zealand's freshwater reform agenda.
The Government is on notice that they must not allow regional councils to frustrate their environmental reform agenda.
Clean water in our lakes rivers and streams is integral to our health and natures' health, and voters will punish parties who don't acknowledge that simple - and obvious - truth.
Dr Aroha Spinks, environmental science director, WWF New Zealand
In September, WWF's Living Planet Report revealed a 68 per cent decline in monitored populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish since 1970.
Freshwater ecosystems are the most threatened on Earth with a decline of 84 per cent, wetlands are disappearing three times faster than rainforests, and up to one fifth of wild species are at risk of extinction during this century because of climate change.
The state of Aotearoa isn't any better with more than 4000 of our native species endangered, 76 per cent of our freshwater fish threatened with extinction, and two-thirds of our rivers unswimmable.
Plus, our entire marine environment is under threat, only 10 per cent of our wetland habitats remain, and we currently don't have a strategy to protect our forests.
It's a shameful reflection of our relationship with the natural world.
WWF's vision is to build a future where all people live, and thrive, in harmony with nature.
Our mission is to actively restore and enhance Aotearoa's natural world from sea to sky.
This is not achievable if we fail to act as kaitiaki.
Every life on our planet is connected and yet, we continuously make decisions that affect our economies and environment as if they can be independent of one another.
We must take a holistic approach and embed nature within every policy and decision.
We are a part of nature, not apart from nature.
From establishing an effective network of marine protection areas to the restoration of our waterways, from supporting innovation to reducing waste and consumption, we must take urgent action. Now.
Together, we can assure our mokopuna will know an ocean of abundance, swim in all of our streams again, and interact with our taonga species in the wild.
Manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata, haere whakamua! (Care for the land, care for the people, go forward!)