Tuesday, February 04, 2014

National fails to protect our rivers

Back in November, the government released draft guidelines setting "bottom lines" for water quality in our lakes, rivers and streams. But according to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, they're utterly inadequate:

Current proposals for freshwater management are not adequate for protecting water quality to even current levels in New Zealand, says Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright.

Dr Wright today released her submission on the Government’s proposed National Objectives Framework (NOF) and amendments to the National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management (2011).

Without changes, Dr Wright says that there is little in the NOF that would prevent the 2020 scenario in her recent report becoming reality.

That scenario saw dairy expansion polluting our waterways, rendering them unsuitable for recreation or drinking. Stopping that and protecting our right to swim should be the chief goal of freshwater policy. Instead, National has written a licence to pollute which will allow councils to "manage" water to much lower quality than it is at present, while leaving key dairy pollutants entirely unmanaged. Which is what happens when farmers control your government and set your environmental policy.

The PCE's full submission is here.