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

Last Days Of Parliament: Slave Ships Bill To Pass

The House resumed at 9am and MPs agreed to add the third reading of the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill to this morning’s business.

The bill requires all foreign owned fishing vessels to fly under a New Zealand flag from May 2016 and obey all New Zealand laws. This includes labour laws...

Last night Opposition MPs accused the Maori Party of blocking the passage of this bill into law in this Parliament, no members of the Maori Party were in the House to answer the accusations though they denied this in a press release. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Novopayout: Government-Owned Company To Take Over School Payroll

After lengthy negotiations, the Ministry of Education and the existing school payroll provider, Talent2, have settled both on the amounts payable by Talent2 towards the costs of remediating the Novopay service and a new operating model for the school payroll system. More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Labour Will Raise Minimum Wage, Restore Work Rights

A Labour government will raise the minimum wage $2 an hour to $16.25 and restore work rights to ensure the benefits of economic growth are shared fairly by all New Zealanders, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. More>>

ALSO:

Police: Crewe File Review Released

No new evidence has come to light implicating any specific person as being responsible for the murders of Jeannette and Harvey Crewe... The review identifies there is a distinct possibility that Exhibit 350 (the brass .22 cartridge case) may be fabricated evidence, and that if this is the case, that a member of Police would have been responsible. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Issue #49: Gordon Campbell Interviews Laila Harre

For 25 years, Labour and National have been in virtual agreement about the basics of economic policy, and differed mainly on how to go about managing its social consequences. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Plan To Protect Our Maui’s Dolphins

1. Protect Maui’s from being killed in the sanctuary set up to protect them... 2. Extend fishing protections to the entire Maui’s range... 3. Help protect the livelihoods of affected fishers by supporting them to adopt dolphin-safe fishing methods. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Electorate Deals

For all the talk yesterday from Prime Minister John Key about National being transparent about its electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu, that transparency is entirely front-loaded. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Oil Drilling Face-Off With Labour

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan to protect our beaches from oil spills are to:
1. Prohibit deep sea oil drilling; 2. Implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping; 3. Build Maritime New Zealand’s oil spill response capability; and 4. Introduce a stronger legal framework so that when accidents do happen, the New Zealand taxpayer does not have to pay for the clean-up. More>>

ALSO:


Nick Smith v Fish & Game:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news