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 National Leadership “Contest”

Key’s endorsement of English has turned this “contest” into a race for second place.

This succession was well planned. Lets not forget that English was told by Key in September of his intention to resign, and English was the only member of Cabinet entrusted with that information before it was sprung on everyone else on Monday morning. More>>

Latest: Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman have withdrawn from the leadership race, leaving Bill English the only candidate to replace John Key as Prime Minister.

 

Education, Marketing, Taxes: Health Groups Call For Actions For Sugary Drinks

The New Zealand Dental Association is launching a new consensus statement on Sugary Drinks endorsed by key health organisations. The actions seek to reduce harm caused by sugary drinks consumption. More>>

ALSO:

More Departures? David Shearer Proposed For UN Peacekeeping Role

Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Security Agencies' Reports: GCSB Wants To Give ISPs More Power To Block Threats

The Government Communications Security Bureau wants to give internet service providers more information and power to block cyber threats which are increasing, its director told the intelligence and security select committee yesterday.. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Charter Schools Misleading Pass Rates

Labour: NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated... In one case a school reported a 93.3 per cent pass rate when the facts show only 6.7 per cent of leavers achieved NCEA level two. More>>

ALSO:

Rebstock Report Resolution: SSC Apologises To Derek Leask And Nigel Fyfe

Following a complaint by Mr Leask, the Ombudsman found that the State Services Commission acted unreasonably in relation to Mr Leask and identified numerous deficiencies in the investigation process and in the publication of the final report and in the criticisms it contained of Mr Leask... More>>

ALSO:

International Rankings: Student Results 'Show More Resourcing Needed'

NZEI: New Zealand had only held relatively steady in international rankings in some areas because the average achievement for several other OECD countries had lowered the OECD average -- not because our student achievement has improved. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Salvation Army Report: Beyond The Prison Gate Report

A new Salvation Army report says changes must be made to how prisoners re-enter society for New Zealanders to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Surprise Exit: Gordon Campbell On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news