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


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Countdown, And Mary Margaret O’Hara

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Key In NY: Prime Minister Addresses United Nations

    Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More>>.


    Gordon Campbell: On The Lack Of Accountability Over Philip Smith

    In New Zealand, accountability is an exotic creature rarely glimpsed at ministerial level, or among senior management. The flight to Rio by the paedophile /murderer Philip John Smith/Traynor is no exception. More>>


    More On Corrections

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news