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EDS calls for major changes to freshwater policy

Media Release: EDS calls for major changes to freshwater policy

The Environmental Defence Society has released its submission on the Government’s proposed changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. The prime purpose of the changes is to incorporate a National Objectives Framework which will set environmental bottom lines and provide mandatory guidance for freshwater plans.

“These changes constitute the most important part of the freshwater reform process,” said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.

“They are the keystone in the entire freshwater management system. If the framework is weak or incomplete, the entire edifice could come crumbling down.

“Our submission supports the structure of the framework but seeks major changes to its content. There are freshwater attributes that are crucial that are missing and others that are set too low. Substantive improvements are needed to bring the National Objectives Framework to a level that will enable New Zealanders to have confidence that freshwater quality will be maintained or improved in future years.

“We have asked for specific changes to incorporate the macroinvertebrate index which measures the health of aquatic life; for nitrogen and phosphorus limits to be set to avoid eutrophication; and for a national bottom line that would ensure rivers that were used for swimming would not be polluted.

“In all EDS has identified 48 changes that are required to the proposed National Policy Statement and National Objectives Framework. Our submissions are available online.

“EDS is very supportive of the reform process for freshwater management and congratulates the Government on its willingness to engage in good faith with the sector. The Government is progressively implementing the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum.

“We have confidence that the Minister for Environment is listening and open-minded and that improvements will be made to the draft,” Mr Taylor concluded.


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