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


Government RMA Changes Ominous for Future of Water

Government RMA Changes Ominous for Future of Water

Recent changes by government to the Resource Management Act pointed to a grim future for the public’s water and in particular rivers say the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA).

An annual report presented to the Federation’s annual general meeting recently held in Rotorua it was said the inescapable perception was that the proposed changes favoured economic development above environmental and recreational values.

Newly elected NZFFA president Graham Carter of Hamilton said it was significant that the vote for changes to the RMA in Parliament was narrow and only by support from the Maori and United Futures party MPs.

The Federation’s annual report said Environment Minister Nick Smith and government had substantially strengthened the ability of government by devolving more power to central government and less to local councils.

“It's if deep concern that key aspects are that it is tantamount to legalising the degradation of the public's waterways, today and in the future. Water quality standards will be lowered. Alarmingly from a democratic perspective, there will be a reduction of input from regional and district councils and thereby the public’s voice.”

The moves to government domination were evident several years ago when government’s dumped the democratically elected Environment Canterbury (ECan) and replacing it with a council of government appointments.

Graham Carter said the moves over ECan and now the RMA were championed by government cabinet minister Nick Smith was ironic since Smith was charged with being the Minister for the Environment.

The Federation was strongly opposed to the concept of tradeable water rights, i.e. the direct commercialization of water and ability to buy and sell water rights.

"Water is essentially a public resource and must remain in the public domain,” said Graham Carter.

He said there were encouraging signs that the public was arousing itself from the “political apathy” that resulted in a million New Zealanders not voting at the 2014 election.

“A greater political will is necessary by the trout fishing public and all outdoors minded Kiwis over the water issue. It very probably will be a major issue in this year’s election.”

But there were some sections of society that denied that the public’s water resource was in danger of degradation.

"Management - or mismanagement - of waterways has a lack of community will. Federated Farmers NZ was so often in denial and indeed some spokesman portray trout as “evil introduced fish. Never mind the introduced cows,” he said.
However it was not just dairying as some local council still discharged raw sewage and stormwater into rivers and coasts. Among the “cocktail of chemicals” were modern detergents and cleansing agents such as chlorine. Chlorine was shown in 1971 to be lethal in very minute quantities to trout.

Other influences were detrimental too. Monoculture of pine forests mainly now by foreign owned corporate companies, had a profound effect on stream flows with an insatiable thirst for water during growth. At clear felling time, a runoff of silt and debris resulted.
Environmentally in mega-monoculture form, they are detrimental said Graham Carter.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Another Leader Exiting: Statement From Peter Dunne

I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ōhāriu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter...

“I have therefore decided that it is time for me to stand aside, so the people of Ōhāriu can elect a new electorate MP. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election