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Fresh water rules should be clear, not murky

Fresh water rules should be clear, not murky

The latest confusion around National’s fresh water policy makes it clear that Nick Smith can’t be trusted to look after New Zealand’s rivers and lakes, the Green Party said today.

Forest and Bird revealed yesterday that the majority of our streams and rivers will not be required to meet any health standards under the new policy.

“Nick Smith cannot be trusted with our precious resources and should withdraw his policy. We need a new, meaningful plan which reflects what the majority of 4000 submitters and most Kiwis want; a genuine plan for swimmable clean rivers,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“Kiwis don’t want to have to check a website to know which creeks and rivers will be swimmable and which will remain polluted.

“The fine print of Nick Smith’s plan reveals that even the rivers that are supposedly protected may be at risk. Regional Councils have an ‘escape clause’ which excuses them from meeting national bottom lines for freshwater if they think it is necessary for “economic well-being”.

“National’s plan makes great claims about new kinds of monitoring using the MCI (Macroinvertebrate Community Index), but Councils have been using this method for years.

“Unsurprisingly, this policy is full of confusion, contradictions and very few guarantees that the goals of clean water will be reached by 2040.

“A Green Government will commit to meaningful, achievable standards for waterways across New Zealand. It’s the only sensible option if we want to safeguard our future,” said Ms Delahunty.

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