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

 


The Government’s Fresh Water Policy – REVISITED

The Government’s Fresh Water Policy – REVISITED


Fresh water quality is the latest area to be in the sights of Gareth Morgan and his research organisation The Morgan Foundation. They enlisted a group of 16 scientists to help them review the government’s new fresh water policy.

“We know that Kiwis care about their fresh water,” says Morgan, “we want our streams and rivers to be safe for swimming, fishing and gathering food. So it made sense to look at this issue.”

They found that the fresh water policy was a bit murkier than the Environment Minister let on. While the policy is a step forward, it is not enough to guarantee that the quality of our lakes and rivers will halt their long slide. More work is needed to develop the so-called ‘bottom lines’ and greater investment is needed in information and monitoring. Until we have all this in place we need to manage our water very cautiously.

Like most Morgan Foundation studies, the purpose was to inform the public about the state of the science so they can make up their own mind. Morgan and his team recorded the scientists’ discussions, and used this information to draw their own conclusions, all of which are available on the myriver.org.nz website. In particular Morgan singles two areas where the policy doesn’t live up to public expectations.

“Firstly the policy won’t guarantee it will be safe to swim in rivers, only to wade in them. In other words, don’t slip over” quips Morgan.

“Secondly the requirement to ‘maintain or improve’ waterways has been fudged to apply ‘across a region’ rather than to individual waterways. It’s unclear how this will be measured and monitored.”

According to Morgan “this means the public can’t trust the policy will do what it says on the tin”.

Morgan argues that tightening up the policy so it’s more consistent with what the science tells us is necessary, wouldn’t spell an end to development such as dairy conversions. Potential polluters could show that they either won’t increase pollution, or will offset it by paying to fix problems elsewhere in the catchment. In some circumstances a local community may even decide that they don’t want to swim in a river, or they are happy to trade off water quality for more jobs. But he argues that we should start with the assumption that people want their water to get better, and have the aspiration that they should be able to swim in it.

“In the absence of this, I hope communities and Regional Councils step up to improve every waterway.” says Morgan. “And to help them, I’ve created an app that lets people report water pollution, and it automatically alerts the Council. If you see someone polluting, dob them in.”

For more information and to report pollution visit the website: www.myriver.org.nz


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Mt Albert Aftermath

Personality politics – Jacinda is great! Jacinda is not so great! – have dominated the coverage of the Labour Party’s fortunes this week...

Still, this is a relatively new and welcome problem for the centre-left. Labour has seemed so bereft of crossover talent for so long that it seems almost embarrassed by this latest development. More>>

 

State Sector: Government To Apply Pay Equity Principles

Legal changes are not yet in effect but the State Services Commission, on behalf of the government, and the Council of Trade Unions on behalf of unions, have agreed to apply the principles to current pay equity claims. More>>

ALSO:

Throwing Stoners: English Blames Failed Drug Tests For Unemployment

Bill English’s diversionary tactic of condemning of a generation of Kiwi workers as a bunch of drug-takers cannot hide his government’s failure to create opportunities for decent work, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. More>>

ALSO:

Conservation: Central Govt Takes Over 1080 Regulation

“This new approach standardises the rules for using such poisons rather than the current system of different rules in different regions. This change will reduce costs and delays for operators, ensure consistent conditions throughout the country, reduce mistakes from misunderstanding rule differences and allow best practice approaches to be used." More>>

ALSO:

Election Entertainments: ACT Has Prison Plan, Greens Have Water Bill

Green Party launches Member’s Bill to protect our freshwater The Green Party has today launched a member’s bill that will keep water from underground sources, called aquifers, safe from pollution and contamination. More>>

ALSO:

2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news