Disturbing report shows need for EPA Bill

A landmark report on the state of the environment paints a disturbing picture and highlights the need for a private member’s bill that reinforces the role of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. 

“The Environment Aotearoa 2015 report focuses on the quality of fresh water, and found rivers in agricultural and urban areas had reduced water clarity, aquatic insect life, and higher levels of nutrients and E.coli bacteria.

 “This report reveals the damaging impact increasing dairy cattle numbers and nitrogen fertiliser use are having on the state of our water. 

“It also shows the necessity for my private members bill which rectifies the fact that the original EPA legislation does not mention protecting the environment.   

“The Environmental Protection Authority (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill ensures that protecting, maintaining and enhancing the environment is explicitly stated as one of the EPA’s goals. 

“This week in the House, Nick Smith refused to take any responsibility for the decline in water quality under his watch. The reality is this government has allowed private interests to limit environmental protection efforts, and this latest report shows their lack of any real strategy. 

“Kiwis are sick of seeing their rivers contaminated and spoiled by a lax approach to resource management and a government that continues to ignore calls for our poor water quality to be seriously addressed. This Bill will reinforce the role of the EPA which is one of the cornerstones of conservation in Aotearoa,” says Meka Whaitiri.