Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Greens need to get on the water policy bus

13 July 2014

Greens need to get on the water policy bus

Instead of attacking policy that will massively improve New Zealand water quality, Federated Farmers says the Green Party would be more credible if it showed a lot more bipartisan leadership in supporting that policy.

“The new National Policy Statement (NPS) of Freshwater, actually requires regional councils to maintain or improve water quality while giving the wider community the choice of how far they want to go in order to improve our lakes and rivers,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“If the community wants to ensure that certain rivers and lakes are safe for swimming that is supported within the NPS. But the NPS also requires they be fully informed as to the effect upon jobs, rates and their local economy, when making that choice.

“To leap into swimming as the gold standard for all, without some sort of exceptions regime, will likely cost urban ratepayers massively in the pocket.

“This Green Party policy intent shows a lack of integrity. It cannot be implemented fairly without a huge cost to society and will likely only end up being implemented in rural areas instead of all waterways.

“In other words, it will let off the hook some of our most polluted waterways, like Wellington’s Waiwhetu Stream and Christchurch’s Avon, yet insist on higher standards for our rural streams and rivers. This is cynical lip service to comprehensively addressing water quality.

“If this is truly a water quality policy, then will it fails to address the fact that more than half of the water quality monitoring sites are within 2 kilometres of urban areas and 90 percent are within 10 kilometres.

“The Green’s may say the NPS is too soft and they would be harder, excepting of course, those areas where most of its supporters are. A soft exemption regime excusing urban water bodies is playing Pork Barrel politics with water and really questions their environmental integrity

“The claim that two-thirds of our waterways are too polluted to swim shows little regard for facts. The Dominion Post recently used the “60 percent” figure in an editorial that drew a rebuke from the Ministry for the Environment, which described the figure as repeating fiction.

“As the Ministry’s Guy Beatson has pointed out, “..most monitoring occurs on large rivers near towns. Around 60 percent of monitored sites may be considered poor or very poor for swimming, but these monitored sites are not representative and should not be scaled up to make conclusions about the health risk in all of New Zealand's waters”.

“Between 1999 and 2008, the Green Party was in pole position to push for minimum standards but didn’t. Political theatrics like this now doesn’t do much for its credibility, when, for the first time ever, there are national bottomlines in the new NPS for Freshwater.

“If they genuinely cared about the environment, the Green’s would show some moral fortitude, show some bipartisanship and back what is arguably the leading legislation protecting water quality of its kind, anywhere in the world.

“Instead, it is targeting one section of the community for politicisation.

“The important thing about having minimum standards for water is that the Government has resisted any attempt to have them set at a level, which would shut down the economy. We can summarise the Green’s policy track as, ‘if it moves, tax it and if it doesn’t, subsidise it.’

“Contrary to how the Green Party has painted it, what we now face with the NPS for the first time ever, carries significant implications for agriculture. Farmers and our stock need good water quality but to be truly equitable, town and country have to be in the same boat.

“That’s why the Green Party needs to get off its high horse and onto the policy bus instead,” Mr Mackenzie concluded.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


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>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news