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MAF must stop opposing efforts to clean up rivers

MAF must stop opposing efforts to clean up rivers

Green Media Release 6-4-08

The Green Party is calling on the Government to stop the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry opposing efforts by regional councils to clean up rivers and lakes.

The Greens have discovered that MAF has been trying to stop Horizons Regional Council adopting a goal in its regional plan that all their rivers should be safe for swimming.

Horizons draft ‘One Plan’ includes a goal that all natural water bodies in the region should be suitable for contact recreation. MAF opposed this draft provision in its submission.

“We owe it to our children to return our rivers to a state in which they are clean enough to safely swim in. The Government says it supports this goal but behind the scenes it is doing the opposite,” says Dr Russel Norman, Green Party Co-leader.

“Trevor Mallard, the Minister for the Environment, told councils on Thursday that they should ‘get tough and use the tools they have by putting proper restrictions in place’ to improve our rivers. But here is a regional council trying to do the right thing while a central government agency is trying to stop them.

“Trevor Mallard needs to explain why one of his central government agencies is trying to stop a regional council set a goal that rivers should be safe to swim in.

“Jim Anderton, the Minister of Agriculture, recently attacked the Greens for suggesting that the Government was under the influence of Federated Farmers. Yet the Feds have targeted Horizons’ draft One Plan and his department is joining in the attack.

“Jim Anderton needs to explain why his Department is joining in the campaign by Federated Farmers to attack Horizons Regional Council for daring to suggest that rivers should be safe for swimming and kayaking.

“Horizons’ draft One Plan is one of the front lines in the country-wide campaign to clean up our rivers and lakes. Those opposed to cleaning up our rivers are determined to break Horizons’ resolve.

“Federated Farmers and MAF have targeted the plan to break its key elements. Meanwhile the Ministry for the Environment belatedly made a late three-page sketchy submission in support of the plan, but only after they were lobbied to actually do something.

“If Anderton and Mallard are serious about water quality they will direct MAF to withdraw their opposition to this key element of the One Plan and tell MfE to get active supporting it”.


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