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National Crisis in Water Quality

National Crisis in Water Quality

Tuesday 22 April is Earth Day and Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman is highlighting the plight of freshwater streams, lakes and rivers around New Zealand.

Dr Norman will be in Dunedin on April 22nd, surveying dairy operations in the Maniototo area by aircraft and looking at the intensification that's been happening recently here in Otago.

Dairy expansion is happening so quickly that regional councils can't keep up with their duty to regulate water pollution.

Water quality is suffering. This is a blow not only to recreational water users such as fishermen, swimmers and kayakers, but also to nature – to the unique creatures that live in our local waterways such as the New Zealand Long-finned Eel.

The Greens are calling for a moratorium on new water consents until the situation can be properly assessed.

"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 Norman.

"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".

The Greens released a statement earlier by Dr. Mike Joy, senior lecturer in environmental studies at Massey University (see video statement here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf0dx-QFp04). 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.

While in Dunedin, Dr Norman will be taking part in a project to clear litter from part of the Water of Leith and will give an evening talk on the plight of New Zealand's freshwater ecology.

ENDS

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