Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A licence to pollute

While their latest plans to gut the RMA appear to have been halted, National's orcs have plenty of other tricks up their sleeves to allow polluters to degrade our environment. Their latest? Setting minimum freshwater standards so low as to be meaningless:

Proposed national water quality standards are weak and will allow for further degradation of New Zealand's rivers and streams even to levels seen downstream of raw sewage outlets, the Green Party and water scientists have warned.

The ministry is working on a "National Objectives Framework" that sets maximum levels for key pollutants, slime and harmful bacteria in waterways.

But a draft version leaked to the Weekend Herald was criticised by Massey University's Russel Death as having "extremely weak" limits on key measures, particularly those for nitrates in rivers and streams.


The maximum nitrate concentration proposed in the document is 6.9mg a litre of water, which Dr Death said would result in "out of control" algae growth.

To put that in context, you don't get such levels in New Zealand, and you'd only get them downstream of an untreated sewage pipe. So National's "standard" isn't any standard at all. Instead its just a licence to pollute.

And who will do that pollution? The main sources of nitrates are fertiliser and dairy farm runoff. The standards will be set low, and our rivers poisoned, for the sake of the Almighty Cow.

We can't let this happen. Clean rivers are the birthright of all New Zealanders. We must throw this filthy, polluting government out.