New Zealand Rivers Need Further Freshwater Improvements
Most of our rivers, lakes, and wetlands have better protection from new freshwater rules announced today, but a few key omissions leave our fresh water at risk.
"This is better protection than our rivers have ever had, but it is still piecemeal, and leaves too much to chance," says Forest & Bird Freshwater Advocate Tom Kay.
“Simple national bottom lines for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution are missing from freshwater reforms.”
"Exemptions for horticulture in some key regions have created an incomplete picture in improving our water quality."
"Our rivers, lakes, and wetlands are at a breaking point. This piecemeal approach to cleaning up does not go far enough fast enough.”
"New Zealanders have an enormous opportunity to use the election as a chance to make cleaning up fresh water a priority in the next Government’s agenda."
Most of New Zealand’s lowland rivers are unsafe for swimming, nearly half of monitored lakes contain more nutrients than they can cope with, and three-quarters of our native freshwater fish species are listed as threatened or at risk of extinction according to a Ministry for the Environment report.
"New Zealanders need clean fresh water. It’s a key part of our health, our wellbeing and our identity. Right now, water needs us to take action to protect it for future generations," says Mr Kay.
“Protecting and restoring our fresh water should be a part of our recovery from Covid-19. We can create jobs by and transitioning to more sustainable farming methods, and improving urban water infrastructure.”
"We need to work together and listen to the advice of scientific experts to make sure the freshwater we rely on is safe for people and planet."