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Strong Water Rules Essential As New Report Shows Most NZ Rivers Polluted

A government report released today shows most New Zealand rivers are polluted, highlighting why strong water rules are urgently needed, say freshwater campaigners.

The report shows most of our waterways are under stress and many are severely impacted.

In our response to the Covid-19 epidemic, the Government must not sacrifice the health of our country’s water by stalling long overdue freshwater reform as some have called for, says Choose Clean Water spokesperson Marnie Prickett.

Our Freshwater 2020, part of Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ’s reporting on the state of the environment, shows most rivers flowing through urban and rural land are polluted.

One per cent of the length of New Zealand rivers flows through urban catchments, half through pastoral catchments and six per cent through land dominated by forestry.

“Surely, at a time when health is front of mind for most New Zealanders, this report is yet more evidence that we need strong water rules to be finalised by this Government this year,” says Prickett.

“Water is the foundation for our country’s health. Our waterways are sources for our drinking water, where we go to play and gather food. Clean, healthy waterways support our mental and physical well-being.”

Moreover, the group says, healthy waterways are important for resilience in the face of a changing climate. The report states that freshwater habitat continues to decline.

“More than ever, the need for strong water rules is clear.”

“We urge the Government to listen to the evidence on freshwater, plan ahead and put us on the path now to protecting water for the long-term health and well-being of all New Zealanders.”

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