Parliament

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

 

90% of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for the Environment

23 February 2017 Media Statement

90% of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040

The Government today announced a target of 90 per cent of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers meeting swimmable water quality standards by 2040, alongside releasing new policy, regulations, information maps and funding to help achieve the new goal.

“This ambitious plan to improve the water quality in our lakes and rivers recognises that New Zealanders expect to be able to take a dip in their local river or lake without getting a nasty bug,” Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The plan is backed up by national regulations requiring stock to be fenced out of waterways, new national policy requirements on regional councils to strengthen their plan rules on issues such as sewage discharges and planting riparian margins, a new Freshwater Improvement Fund and new maps that clearly identify where improvements are needed.

“This 90 per cent goal by 2040 is challenging and is estimated to cost the Government, farmers and councils $2 billion over the next 23 years. It will make us a world leader in water quality standards for swimming, and that’s important for New Zealand’s growing tourism industry. It will return our rivers and lakes to a standard not seen in 50 years while recognising that our frequent major rainfalls mean a 100 per cent standard is not realistic.”

The target covers the length of rivers over 0.4m deep and the perimeters of lakes greater than 1.5km, which total 54,000km. The plan is about improving the frequency that we can swim in our lakes and rivers, noting that even our cleanest rivers breach swimming water quality standards during storms.

The swimmable target is based on meeting the water quality standard at least 80 per cent of the time, in line with European and US definitions. Currently 72 per cent by length meet this definition, and the target is to increase that to 90 per cent by 2040. This means an additional 10,000km of swimmable rivers and lakes by 2040, or 400km per year.

“The maps I am releasing today provide the most comprehensive and consistent information on water quality for swimming of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes ever published. These will help focus councils and communities on improving their local water quality, as well as help people make decisions about where they can safely swim. The maps are connected to the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa website that provides real-time information on water quality, which is particularly relevant for the fair and intermittent categories.

“The challenge of improving water quality varies significantly across New Zealand. This plan requires improvements in water quality across all regions and all categories. The target not only requires an improvement in areas that are swimmable, ie into the fair category, but also rivers and lakes being moved from fair to good, and good to excellent. Regional targets to achieve the national goals are to be worked through with regional councils by March 2018. Some regional targets will need to be greater than the 90 per cent and others, where it is more difficult to achieve, will be less.

The National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management is being strengthened to support the new 90 per cent by 2040 swimmability target, as well as changes to address the issues of ecological health and nutrients by:

• replacing “wadeable” with “swimmable”
• adding macroinvertebrate monitoring for ecological health
• strengthening references to “Te Mana o te Wai”
• clarifying the consideration of economic opportunities
• requiring instream limits for nitrogen and phosphorus
• clarifying inclusion of coastal lakes and lagoons
• clarifying the policy on exceptions
• strengthening the requirement for monitoring and improving quality.

“The new regulations on excluding stock from waterways are an important part of this plan to improve water quality. The rules progressively apply to dairy, pig, dairy support, beef and deer farms from this year to 2030 relative to the steepness of the country, at an expected cost of $367 million,” Dr Smith says.

“We are today opening bids for the new $100m Freshwater Improvement Fund and announcing the eligibility and assessment criteria, which closes on 13 April. This comes on top of the $350m already committed by the government, of which more than $140m has been spent on specific river and lake clean-ups.

“This is the third phase of the Government’s work programme to improve New Zealand freshwater management and builds on the NPS introduced in 2011 and the National Objectives Framework in 2014. I commend and acknowledge the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and the Land and Water Forum, who have worked tirelessly in assisting with these policy developments.”

The detail of the NPS and Stock Exclusion Regulations are open for consultation until 28 April 2017.

Attachments:

1. Q&As
1_QAs.pdf

2. Clean Water document
2_Clean_Water_document.pdf

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Turei To Be Interviewed By MSD: Gordon Campbell On The Real Truth Deficit In Welfare

It has been astonishing to see the amount of time and energy being spent on what Greens co-leader Metiria Turei did or didn’t do properly as a beneficiary back in the early 1990s – as compared to how little time and energy is being put into the point of her personal example.

Turei was citing her case in order to query whether much has changed – especially when it comes down to whether the current benefit levels and targeting rules at WINZ are helping or hindering today’s beneficiaries to escape from poverty. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Bojo Visit

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is in town, just over a year since his political career peaked… and then wobbled off into a grey zone of indecision… Currently, Johnson is touring the former colonies, talking up the historical ties. More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary Ed: Government Responds To Productivity Commission

The work programme will focus on four key areas. • Creating a more student-centred system • Meeting the needs of industry through relevant, responsive, and supportive teaching • Improving performance across the system • Enabling and encouraging innovative new models and providers More>>

ALSO:

PM's Science Advisor: Youth Suicide In NZ Discussion Paper

The paper discusses the multiple factors involved in youth suicide and possible and evidence-based approaches to prevention. It points out the very different context in which young people now live their lives and the challenges of the transition from childhood to adulthood. More>>

ALSO:

Drug Deaths: Accurate Information Is Vital

Drug Foundation: The spike in hospital admissions and reported deaths in Auckland as a result of people taking unknown substances is not being helped by an information vacuum. More>>

ALSO:

Backing Dunne & Seymour: National Signals Election Intentions

“We are encouraging National supporters to give their electorate vote to ACT candidate, David Seymour, in Epsom, and United Future candidate, Peter Dunne, in Ohariu – and their party vote to National." More>>

ALSO:

Climate Policy: Govt's New Proposals For ETS

“Last year, as a result of stage one of the review, we announced the phase out of the one-for-two measure in the ETS. I am now announcing further changes as a result of stage two of the review.” More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Boris, Infrastructure, Immigration, Drugs

Prime Minister Bill English opened this week's post-cabinet press conference by revisiting that day's announcement of 'Crown Infrastructure Partners'... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election