National is currently "consulting" on "national standards" for freshwater which are effectively a licence for pollution and allow rivers that will make you sick. But it turns out that even these weak standards are too much for National's handpicked dictators in Canterbury, who are arguing for the region's two most polluted lakes to be exempted altogether:
In a submission on the Government's consultation document, Environment Canterbury (ECan) said it would be "deeply concerned" if that [Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth being required to meet national freshwater standards - I/S] happened, as it could mean years of work would have to be revisited with "significant costs."
The clean-up of Lake Ellesmere is expected to take generations.
Existing initiatives to restore it have targets extending beyond 2035, and were the result of public hearings, governance agreements between councils and Ngai Tahu, and policies around land use and nutrient limits.
"All this work – the exhaustive scientific assessments, careful deliberation, and hard-won community agreement – would potentially be jeopardised," the submission reads.
Or, to put it another way: they'd have to meet those standards, and the farmers and polluters they work for would be upset. Meanwhile, while they're dragging their feet, Ellesmere is getting worse, while Lake Forsyth is poisonous and kills animals.
This is another reason why Canterbury needs a fully elected regional council: so that it represents the region's people, rather than just the National Party and their polluter cronies.