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Stats NZ survey shows water reforms have public support

Stats NZ survey shows water reforms have public support


Data highlighted today by Stats NZ shows that freshwater quality is New Zealanders' top environmental concern.

"Stats NZ’s New Zealand General Social Survey showed that freshwater quality is New Zealand's most significant environmental issue," Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Taylor says.

Over 80 per cent of Kiwis stated there was a problem with the state of New Zealand's rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and aquatic life.

Half of all respondents (49.3 per cent) thought farming activities were the leading cause of the issue, whilst the second most commonly stated cause was sewage and stormwater discharges (16.6 per cent).

"Halfway through consultation on the Government's Essential Freshwater program - which has the potential to fix New Zealand's freshwater pollution crisis - Stats NZ have confirmed the public's concern about water quality.

"This Stats NZ survey reconfirms Colmar Brunton research for Fish & Game New Zealand in August that showed pollution of our rivers and lakes remains a top concern for Kiwis, with two-thirds expecting the Government to put rules and regulations in place to protect water quality.

"Three quarters - 77 per cent - of those surveyed by Colmar Brunton said they were extremely or very concerned about the pollution of lakes and rivers.

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

A significant Government report released in April found that, between 2013 and 2017, about 82 per cent of river length in pastoral farming areas wasn't safe for swimming.

"The data and science are clear - we must change what we are doing, which is why the Government's freshwater proposals are so important. If intensive farming and urban waterways are not regulated, our kids will grow up thinking polluted rivers and streams are normal.

"There has been much scaremongering from DairyNZ and Federated Farmers that the Government's plan to clean up our polluted waterways will affect every single farmer and cause huge costs. However, many farmers have been doing what the Government is proposing - protecting the environment for future generations. These proposals will only affect those few farmers who refuse to clean up their act.

"Kiwis expect to be able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle an issue Kiwis are deeply concerned about."

ENDS


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