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Greens Welcome Water Plan as First Step

Greens Welcome Water Plan as First Step

The Government's new Sustainable Water Plan has been welcomed by Green Party Environment spokesperson Nandor Tanczos, but he warns that it needs to be stronger in some areas.

"Rather than 'considering the potential value' of including pollution in the National Policy Statement, it should be intrinsic when looking at water allocation. It's a no-brainer I would have thought," Mr Tanczos says.

As we look at new ways of using water more efficiently, we have to ensure pollution control is seen as a necessary ingredient in the mix."

The Greens say that this has be done at two separate levels of the new regime.

"Firstly, the Government must include a commitment to water quality and pollution control in its proposed National Policy Statement," Mr. Tanczos says.

"Secondly, we must incorporate measures around contamination by phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients associated with intensive cropping and animal husbandry into the core set of National Environment Standards relating to water take, use and flows."

The Green Party welcomed the fact the new system does not create a platform for privatisation.

"We do agree that New Zealand should keep well away from creating private property rights in water, judging by Australia's experience. Our concerns would be around making sure transfers don't occur between different parts of the catchment, or between different categories of use."

The Green Party urged that the new system be trialled in a pilot programme before implementation.

"We need solid experience of how this new system will actually allocate priorities between the competing energy generation, irrigation, industrial and recreational uses of water. Will regional councils for instance, be given added resources to implement this system, and to resolve any disputes that arise?

"Among farmers there may an understandable reluctance to embrace the new system until its kinks have been ironed out. Given the crucial importance of water, we need to manage it on the basis of solid experience, not market theory," Mr Tanczos says.

ENDS

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