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Kiwis expect Govt to deliver strict new water quality rules

Pollution of our rivers and lakes remains a top concern for Kiwis according to public opinion poll results, with two-thirds of people expecting the Government to put rules and regulations in place to protect water quality.

The findings are contained in a Colmar Brunton poll conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand.

The poll asked people how concerned they were about a range of issues, including the cost of living, the health system, child poverty and water pollution.

"Three quarters - 77 per cent - of those surveyed said they were extremely or very concerned about the pollution of lakes and rivers," Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor says.

The only issue people were more worried about was the cost of living, with 78 per cent saying they were extremely or very concerned.

In 2017, 2018 and 2019 we asked this same question. The concern in water quality has remained in the top two concerns for Kiwis each year that we have conducted this survey.

"The Government campaigned in the 2017 Election on cleaning up New Zealand's waterways so that we can swim, fish and gather food from our rivers, lakes and streams.

"Nearly two-thirds of people expect the Government to put rules and regulations in place to deliver on their election promise to clean up New Zealand's waterways.

Martin Taylor says the Colmar Brunton findings show how worried the public is about water quality.

"These results show the depth of feeling kiwis have about the loss of what they consider their birth right - clean rivers, lakes and streams.

"It highlights the urgency with which the Government needs to make substantial changes to address the problem."

The Government's plan to halt the decline in water quality and improve rivers, lakes and streams is expected to be announced shortly, when a new freshwater National Policy Statement and a new National Environmental Standard will be released for consultation.

"This gives the Government a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle an issue Kiwis are deeply concerned about.

"It is always difficult for a Government to deliver on a strong election promise once in office. However, New Zealanders have said they want tough new rules designed to clean up our freshwater this year. The Government needs to deliver.

"Kiwis expect to be able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams. People are calling for change so their children's children can have a New Zealand they are proud to call home."


The poll was conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand by Colmar Brunton from 31 July - 7 August 2019. It surveyed a thousand New Zealanders, and the results are nationally representative for age, gender and region. The margin of error on a sample size of 1,000 is +3.1%.


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