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National Environment Spokesman Caned Over Water Hypocrisy


National Environment Spokesman Caned Over Water Hypocrisy

The newly appointed National Party spokesman for the Environment Scott Simpson recent claim the previous National-led government’s efforts had led to improved river water quality standards has been torpedoed by river advocates.

Andi Cockroft of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Assns., of New Zealand (CORANZ) described Scott Simpson’s claims as “twisted political spin.”

“It’s a twisted political spin from the party that more than any in living history has destroyed so much natural habitat,” he said. “From highly polluted streams to rivers with little or no flow. From poisoned and silent forests to oil exploration in the public’s forest parks.”

Target for the criticism was National’s Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson welcoming news that efforts of New Zealanders alongside the previous Government to improve our freshwater quality were proving effective.

“A new report from Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) released yesterday shows that for all river water quality parameters monitored over a 10 year period, more sites were improving than deteriorating,” he said.

But the report has been criticised by forthright Massey scientist Dr Mike Joy who was reported as saying “it’s an example of trying desperately to make it sound better than it really is.”

Scott Simpson claimed the report showed that the previous National Government’s focus on nationwide water quality standards were a step in the right direction.

“National is a party of practical environmentalists, focused on striking a balance between responsible economic growth and managing our environment,” he said.

His comments followed National’s new leader Simon Bridges claiming on a Newshub on March 3, that his and his party’s record on the environment was strong.

But others supported CORANZ Andi Cockroft’s contention that National’s claims were “twisted political Spin.”

NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) president Graham Carter said National’s claims were hypocritical.

“After the debacle over recent years by the National Party regarding intensified dairying increases, irrigation increases and burying their heads in the sand over water quality National’s Scott Simpson has the audacity to make such false claims.”

He said NZFFA was “apolitical” and would take any political party to task for deception.

Graham Carter said National had done little if anything to improve river quality and instead gave water away free to foreign exploiters.

Manawatu environmentalist and NZFFA life member Ken Sims said National’s claims completely lacked credibility in view of its performance as the previous government.

“The real issue is these things are being led and orchestrated by regional councils. They are the ones who run the LAWA site so the report’s credibility is suspect. It’ seems like a self justifying smokescreen.”

Ken Sims said regional councils had often been captured by farming interests as shown by Horizons’ Council comprising 80% farming links.


ends

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