Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


River Rescue Promises Washed Up In Billions Borrowed

What has happened to the 2017 promises by the Labour, Greens and NZ First parties - now forming government - to tangibly start the task of cleaning up the public’s waterways after decades of neglect?

That’s the question two prominent organisations, the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers and Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations are asking.

One of the top three mandates the current Government had when elected was to clean up the country’s lakes and rivers.

“Getting towards three years later, the public are still waiting with the mood turning to frustration over this key election promise,” said Rex Gibson, Environmental Spokesperson of the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers.

“The rhetoric has been there but it’s looking like political puffery,” said chairman of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations Andi Cockroft.

The “rhetoric” he referred to was exemplified by Environment Minister David Parker saying in October 2018, when the Government announced its blueprint to clean up waterways - “We’re not going to leave the hard issues for future generations.”

New rules would be in place by 2020, David Parker said in a joint announcement with Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor in a new National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management and a new National Environmental Standard (NES).

But it’s 2020 now and only months to an election.

“It’s not credible to blame covid19,” said Andi Cockroft. “The Minister said ‘by 2020’ and it’s almost halfway through 2020 - 16 months after that October 2018 promise.”

There have been disturbing signs of government reneging on the 2017 promise when two months ago NZ First MP and Regional Development Minister, Shane Jones, said that the time was not right to impose new rules on farmers.

But the government does look to be prepared to use covid19 as a scapegoat for its inaction. Just days ago Environment minister David Parker said the delay was “because of Covid.”

Health Issues

Federation of Freshwater Anglers' spokesperson Rex Gibson stated that while anglers are getting increasingly annoyed at the delays and excuses, the public’s health was at stake just as with Covid19.

“It’s ironic while we’re dealing with a health issue with Covid19, there is a health issue being ignored with rivers. Testing and analysis of Canterbury and South Canterbury river water has shown nitrate levels well above recognised health standard limits.”

A Danish study has shown strong links between cancer and nitrate levels in water.

This study of 2.7 million people over 33 years that linked low levels of nitrates in water (far below those of current New Zealand drinking water standards) with colorectal cancer.

The Federation of Freshwater Anglers has been routinely measuring nitrate levels in several Canterbury rivers.

“The results are alarming and a testimony to the inaction and lethargy by government,” said Rex Gibson.

Don’t be Smug

However he had stern words for the opposition National Party, warning they could not afford to be smug given the good memories of the public.

“It was in the National government’s terms 2009-17, that nitrate levels accelerated as John Key embarked on unbridled dairying expansion for corporate farmers while at the same time undemocratically removing an obstacle in the way of Environment Canterbury to make wholesale dairying conversion into low rainfall areas, easier.”

He added that "The environmental sector would rather see actions and commitments backed by dollars than hollow promises from the coalition."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Welfare Reform Has No Champions In Parliament

Ever since Victorian times, the unemployed have been a problem for those more fortunate, wealthy and powerful. Down the ages, society has been torn between providing for them as victims of misfortune, or dealing to them as the shiftless agents of their own condition. Either way, the poor are commonly regarded as The Other – as a group of outsiders gathered pitifully, reproachfully, or (depending on your POV) threateningly at the gates of polite society.... More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes

The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>


ACT: Parliament Quits MP Cut Pay Debate To Go Home Early

“In an outrageous move, Parliament has today passed voluntary MP pay cuts and avoided any debate over whether to make them compulsory and transparent”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.... More>>


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>


Govt: Concern At Introduction Of National Security Legislation For Hong Kong
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong... More>>






InfoPages News Channels