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Luxon’s Govt Destroying Right To Safe Drinking Water, Swimmable Rivers

Greenpeace Aotearoa is condemning the Luxon Government’s latest resource management amendment bill as the next attack in the war on nature, this time targeting freshwater.

Greenpeace Aotearoa spokesperson Amanda Larsson says, "The Luxon Government is taking away people’s right to safe healthy drinking water and swimmable rivers, by dismantling New Zealand’s world-leading freshwater protections with this new bill."

The Resource Management (Freshwater and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, which is set to have its first reading in Parliament today, will scrap the requirement for consents to comply with the water protection principles set out in the National Policy Statement on Freshwater.

These principles include a simple hierarchy: recognising that freshwater health is inextricably linked to human health, the first priority is the health of water bodies themselves. Next in importance is the health of communities and their access to safe drinking water, and this is followed lastly by use for commercial purposes.

"Everyone should feel safe to drink the water coming out of their kitchen tap, and everyone should be able to take a dip in their local river without getting sick," says Larsson.

"This Bill puts that at risk by prioritising private profits over the health of both people and nature."

The new Bill also removes regulations on Intensive Winter Grazing practices (also known as mud-farming) and suspends the requirement for councils to identify significant natural areas, among other changes.

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"Make no mistake: this latest attack in Luxon’s war on nature will result in more polluted lakes and rivers, more contaminated drinking water, more cows giving birth in mud, and more extinction."

Greenpeace and a host of other groups are organising a ‘ March for Nature’ on June 8th starting in Aotea Square, Auckland, to protest the fast track bill and what it has labelled the Luxon Government’s ‘war on nature’. Larsson says this latest move to remove freshwater protections is yet another reason for people to join the protest.

"New Zealanders will not stand by and watch this Government destroy the lakes, rivers, and drinking water that are so central to our lives," says Larsson.

"As we’ve seen through the recent fast-track submissions process, people may have voted for a change in Government, but they did not vote for lakes and rivers to be turned into sewers, or forests and oceans to become open-cast mines. We will be marching on June 8th in Auckland to stop this outright war on nature, and we’re calling on everyone who cares about nature to join us."

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