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


PQ 11. Freshwater Management

11. Freshwater Management, National Policy Statement—Water Quality of Rivers
[Sitting date: 23 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:15. Text is subject to correction.]
11. EUGENIE SAGE (Green) to the Minister for the Environment : Does the Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management require the 61 percent of monitored recreational river sites that are graded “poor” or “very poor” to be safe for swimming?
Hon AMY ADAMS (Minister for the Environment): The national policy statement requires all fresh water to be at a level that experts tell us will protect aquatic species and human health. Beyond that, it does not set requirements on a river-by-river basis. They are national standards, and above the bottom lines, it is for each community to decide what goal will be set in each case.
Eugenie Sage : Does she think it acceptable that these sites, chosen because they are popular for swimming, are actually too polluted to safely swim at and that her weak bottom lines will not make a difference?
Hon AMY ADAMS : Well, the member is quite wrong in her assertion. First of all, what we are talking about here is 94 sites out of a total of 425,000 kilometres of waterways, and even fewer than that actually measuring as potentially at risk, and even those are generally safe for swimming most of the time.
Eugenie Sage : When the Minister said that we need to manage popular lake and river swimming spots for swimming, did that include the Waikirikiri Selwyn River on her doorstep, which has multiple sites that are unsafe for swimming, and which her national bottom line—that rivers have to be fit only for wading and not for swimming—will not clean up?
Hon AMY ADAMS : What we have said consistently is that we trust local communities to know which sites they want to protect for swimming and to take the necessary steps to do that. I back my community to make decisions about what it wants to protect for swimming, and I am not going to impose costs on every community, every business, and every household in New Zealand because the Greens want every drainage ditch to be managed as if it was a swimming pool. It is ludicrous.
Eugenie Sage : What advice has the Minister had on the cost to local authorities of multiple regional plan processes and court litigation that result from her decision to leave it to councils to determine whether rivers should be clean and safe for swimming, rather than having a national bottom line?
Hon AMY ADAMS : What I can tell that member is that, of course, at the moment—and the situation that that member’s party was quite happy with when it was in a position to do something about it—these decisions are entirely for councils, the difference being that at the moment the Government provides no assistance, no national consistency, and no standardised science. That is what we have done and that will significantly reduce the time and the cost on each community in making those decisions. I am just surprised that member does not back local communities.
Eugenie Sage : Can the Minister confirm that she is abandoning annual reporting on recreational river quality in the suitability for swimming indicator report because the National Government is trying to hide the bad news?
Hon AMY ADAMS : That member well knows that we are moving to the most comprehensive system of environmental reporting that this country has ever had, under which water quality will be reported twice in every 18 months—a system, by the way, that did not exist in 2007 when the Greens were propping up a Labour Government that picked and chose what information it wanted to give to the public.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Environment And Conservation: Changes To Our Oceans Pose Serious Concerns

New Zealand’s oceans, coasts, and marine wildlife are under growing pressure, according to the first national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand about the marine environment. More>>


Police Authority: Use Of Taser Was Disproportionate And Unjustified

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer’s second use of a Taser on a mentally unwell Hokitika man was disproportionate and unjustified. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Holidays, Hekia Parata And Badlands

Hekia Parata, adieu. Reportedly, she’s been ‘passionate’ about education. She has “bravely’ led the charge on the government’s education reforms. In the past week , many of the postscripts to Hekia Parata’s career as Education Minister have sounded like a schoolteacher desperately trying to find some reason why a D student can be marked up to C minus. More>>


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news