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Suspend issuing new consents for taking water

Suspend issuing new consents for taking water

Green Media Release 9th March 2008

Green Co-leader, Dr. Russel Norman, used his keynote address to the Greens Campaign Conference in Auckland today to call for a centrally legislated moratorium on regional councils issuing any new resource consents to take water from lakes, rivers and aquifers in at-risk catchments.

This follows the release today by the Greens of new evidence that government reports are greenwashing the real depth of the crisis in our rivers, lakes and aquifers.

The Greens released a statement by Dr. Mike Joy, senior lecturer in environmental studies at Massey University (see video statement here). Dr Joy says that our lakes and rivers are actually much worse than stated in the government’s State of the Environment report but many freshwater ecologists are unable to speak out about it.

“We are in the middle of a wave of agricultural intensification and the information being provided as to the impact of intensive agriculture is profoundly flawed,” says Dr. Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader.

“Each new irrigated dairy farm adds to the pressure on our rivers, lakes and waterways across the country. We need to pause to consider the collective impact of all these new consents. We need a moratorium.

“More consents to extract water are being issued in an ad hoc basis across the country. We know the impact is serious because our rivers are dangerous to swim in and are drying up. But we don’t have the full picture because central government agencies are failing to tell us.

“When one of our leading freshwater ecologists states that he would have failed the chapter on water in the State of the Environment report had one of his students submitted it, we have a major problem. And when he says that many of his colleagues are also worried but are unable to speak out, we should be deeply worried.

“We need the breathing space created by a moratorium. Central government needs the time to assess the true state of the problem and develop a decent national environmental standard on water. Regional councils need time to develop integrated catch management plans for their major waterways.

“We are racing blindly into a massive intensification of agriculture. We don’t have the information we need to understand the impact of this wave of dairy conversions. The Ministry for the Environment has deeply failed in its task of providing us the information. Until we get trustworthy information we need to pause. We need a moratorium.”

Read the speech here -


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