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Freshwater Policy Won’t Stop Pollution

Freshwater Policy Won’t Stop Pollution

Forest & Bird today welcomed the government’s announcements on freshwater management but said an opportunity had been missed to set clear national objectives for water quality.

“We welcome the government’s commitment to give a stronger national focus to the need to stop the decline in the quality of our freshwater,” Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell said.

“Unfortunately, the government has dropped the ball by missing the opportunity to set clear national objectives for water quality. This means we will be left with different standards in the regions around New Zealand.”

The government’s announcements follow last year’s report of the Land and Water Forum (LWF), a collaborative body set up by the government to reach a consensus on improving the management of our freshwater resources. The LWF comprised about 60 organisations, including primary industry groups, environmental and recreational organisations, iwi and other parties with an interest in freshwater and land management.

Kevin Hackwell was a trustee of the LWF and a member of the forum’s small group, which met regularly for a year to do the detailed work in drawing up the recommended reforms.

The LWF travelled the country after it issued its report for a series of public meetings to discuss the report’s recommendations, he said.

“The feedback that we got consistently in those meetings was that the public wants action to introduce consistent national standards.”

“Clean freshwater is crucial to New Zealand’s environmental, social and economic wellbeing. Our national identity hinges on our rivers, lakes and wetlands,” he said.

“But without clear national objectives to set water quality standards, we risk losing our unique freshwater biodiversity, and our children may no longer be able to swim and fish in our rivers and lakes. We should also never forget how much our economy relies on clean freshwater.”

ENDS

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