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Strong national standards needed to clean up rivers

15 June 2012

Strong national standards needed to clean up rivers and lakes

The release of Wellington’s State of the Environment report today reinforces the need for strong national environmental standards, Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today.

Greater Wellington Regional Council today released its state of the environment report. It highlights the poor quality of many urban, lowland and Wairarapa waterways, and some rivers and aquifers being at their allocation limit.

“The state of the region’s waterways especially in the Wairarapa shows that national environmental standards are urgently needed to set limits on intensive agriculture to protect our rivers, lakes and aquifers,” said Ms Sage.

“The Government has yet to commit to setting national standards for water quality despite these being recommended by the Land and Water Forum.

“New Zealanders love to swim in our rivers; we also need progress on the draft national standard on river flows to help ensure our rivers are healthy and swimmable.

“National standards would help the GWRC when it develops its regional plan rules. Otherwise the Council’s efforts to better protect waterways through stronger rules risk being opposed by users and bogged down in litigation.

“Cleaning up our rivers and lakes means limiting land uses, such as intensive dairying which pollute rivers and groundwater, until the industry can reduce its diffuse discharges.

“Strong national standards can support regional rules,” said Ms Sage.

The State of the Environment report can be found at: www.gw.govt.nz/ser
ends

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