Queenstown Lakes District Council’s comments unacceptable
Queenstown Lakes District Council’s comments that it has applied for a consent to pollute waterways to avoid 'prosecutions by the Otago Regional Council' are unacceptable,’ Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Taylor says.
"All polluters must be held to the same standard, whether they are urban or rural."
Queenstown Lakes Council has said that each unlawful discharge costs the Council between $25,000-$40,000 in fines.
"The Council's argument that they should not be held to account for unauthorised discharges because they can't afford the fines shows unbelievable arrogance.
"That excuse would not cut it for rural polluters, so why should it be allowed for urban polluters.
"Urban pressures on waterways are causing severe environmental impacts.
"It is unacceptable in modern New Zealand that a Council would apply for a resource consent that would allow the discharge of storm and untreated wastewater into the central lakes after high rainfall events.
"Dealing with wastewater is one of the core responsibilities of district councils. It is unacceptable for a district council to say it needs to keep the status quo, simply because it would be too expensive to upgrade infrastructure.
"Whether urban pressures or pressures caused by intensive agriculture, it is essential that regional councils take action to protect our waterways.
"Infrastructure problems are only going to get worse with increasing tourism and a changing climate. Kiwis expect to be able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams - we simply can't have sewage pouring into our waterways."