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

 

Parliament Today:

The Kids: OECD Report Shows Huge Impact Of Poverty On Education

A new report from the OECD has again highlighted the negative effects of poverty, showing that disadvantaged children in New Zealand are more than six times more likely to underachieve in maths than children from wealthier homes. More>>

ALSO:

Pacific: NZ Pledges $500,000 To Help Address Zika

“With the Zika virus now confirmed in a number of Pacific countries, New Zealand is committed to helping limit the impact and spread of the virus in the region,” says Mr McCully. “New Zealand will provide $250,000 as a contribution to the WHO to implement the Pacific Zika Action Plan, and a further $250,000 to enable countries in the region to respond rapidly if required." More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Police Commissioner 'Doesn’t Get Force Needs'

The Police Commissioner has let down the public and his own force by insisting the police have what they need despite it taking a year to solve a burglary and overwhelming number of officers saying they are under-resourced, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Pressure To Expand Our Role In Iraq

Foreign news services are being more forthcoming about what the “next 12 months” will entail – essentially, the defence ministers will be under US pressure to increase their “training” role preparatory to an assault on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Restarts: Prime Minister’s Statement

Our policy agenda and legislative programme will reflect the Government’s four priorities: • to responsibly manage the Government’s finances • to build a more competitive and productive economy • to deliver better public services to New Zealanders, an • to support the rebuilding of Christchurch. More>>

ALSO:

NZEI Survey Report: Special Needs Students Missing Out

The survey revealed that around 16 percent of students were on schools’ special needs registers, but nearly 90 percent of schools’ special needs coordinators did not believe there was adequate support for students and their learning... More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Waitangi Tribunal On Ture Whenua Legislation

Labour on Proposed changes to Maori land rules: “To have Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson dismiss findings as ‘bizarre’ is totally disingenuous and disrespectful. What’s bizarre is Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell stubbornly pushing through this Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has even completed its report..." More>>

ALSO:

Spy Update: Appointment Of GCSB Acting Director

GCSB Chief Legal Advisor Lisa Fong will become the Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) from 15 February 2016, Minister Responsible for the GCSB Christopher Finlayson announced today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news