Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Minister corrects incorrect claims about national freshwater

Minister corrects incorrect claims about national freshwater standards


Environment Minister Amy Adams has today moved to correct incorrect and misleading comments made about the Government’s ground-breaking national freshwater standards.

The Government yesterday announced clear, robust national standards for freshwater that will make a significant improvement to the way freshwater is managed.

This means, for the first time, New Zealand’s rivers and lakes will have minimum requirements that must be achieved so the water quality is suitable for ecosystem and human health.

However, some, including the Green Party, the Labour Party and Massey University environmental ecologist Dr Mike Joy, have resorted to making incorrect claims about the freshwater reforms that have gone unchallenged.

“Some of New Zealand’s best freshwater scientists came up with numeric values for the national standards.

“Ministers have not been involved in any way in the scientific detail of the framework. We were deliberately hands-off during this part of the process so we could get the best scientific information.

“The incorrect comments and claims about this scientific work are extremely disappointing.”

Claims the Government’s national standards for freshwater will lead to the deterioration of freshwater are wrong, Ms Adams says.

“In 2011, the Government required Councils to maintain or improve the water quality in their lakes, rivers, wetlands and aquifers across their region. If their water quality is already above the national standard announced yesterday it cannot be allowed to deteriorate.

“Where a water body is below the national standard, councils and communities will need to ensure that the standard is met over sensible and realistic timeframes.

“The national standards are focussed on targeting those waterbodies that are currently below these levels, and do not affect waterbodies where councils have chosen a higher standard.

“If councils want to let water quality in specific sites deteriorate, as Dr Joy appears to suggest, they can do this now with no limitations. However, the national standards for the first time put restrictions on councils in this regard.”

Responding to criticism that the national standards do not make all waterbodies swimmable, Ms Adams says the standards are about setting minimum criteria. Sites that councils and communities identify as swimming sites will require higher standards.

“It is not the Government’s intention to require every stormwater drainage channel across New Zealand to be suitable for swimming, because of the significant costs this would impose unnecessarily.

“In our experience, communities and councils are absolutely focused on improving water quality, but the important point is this; today there are no minimum standards for our lakes and rivers. The Government is changing that.”
Ms Adams also corrected the Green Party’s and Dr Joy’s comparison of nitrogen levels in New Zealand’s lakes and rivers to those in the Yangtzee River.
“Although the Yangtze River indeed has serious pollution issues, nitrogen is not the core pollutant there.

“In fact, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the primary issue for the Yangtze River is industrial and sewage waste and the management of sediments, rather than nitrogen.

“Furthermore, the nitrate toxicity threshold for the national standards is only one of the ways that nitrogen must be managed to meet the standard.
“Most rivers will need to be managed for nitrogen levels to meet periphyton standards. The Green Party and Dr Joy either do not understand this or have deliberately chosen to ignore it.

“New Zealanders are right to be concerned about areas where water quality is deteriorating – as we all are, however it is disappointing some people have resorted to making incorrect statements about such a positive step towards improving water quality. It says more about their politicking and ideology than any desire to actually see water quality improvements.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inadequate Response To Sexual Violence Prevention

On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the attitudes of ACC staff towards sexual violence victims, and offering them more substantive support.

Hopefully, this will help to reverse the damage done with the insensitive, punitive ACC policy put in place by the incoming Key government in 2009, which in some parts of New Zealand, saw 90 per cent of sexual violence victims being turned away by ACC. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

"To Help Families Get Ahead": April 1 Changes Kick In

Prime Minister John Key says Paid Parental Leave, the parental tax credit, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall, and more people will be helped in to home ownership... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news