A leaked copy of the government’s new water strategy reveals National’s plans to allow more pollution in our rivers, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker.
“In their 8th year in government, National is still allowing fresh water quality to deteriorate. Their latest strategy, to be announced later today, is a plan for dirty rivers.
“Some of those provided with an early copy of the report were so outraged by it they provided it to the Labour Party ahead of its announcement.
“Despite the explosion in dairy beef and other beef cattle numbers, National’s plan does not exclude them from lowland rivers until 2025 and from rolling country until 2030.
Under National’s plan increasing land use intensity around rivers is allowed to get worse. More cattle, more fertiliser, more cows and cattle sewage. Dirtier rivers.
The plan also persists with the current inadequate minimum standard of wadability for rivers. This means lots of our rivers will not be clean enough to swim in.
The report, labelled ‘Next steps for fresh water’, would be better called ‘You won’t be able to see your feet’.
The introduction of a compulsory macroinvertebrate index is good, but that won’t keep our rivers clean, it will just help measure how dirty they are.
On water conservation orders, the government adds another ministerial dictatorship clause, granting itself the power to block applications for WCOs where there is a plan in process, which there just about always is.
This latest attempt to stop even our most outstanding rivers from being protected shows how far National is biased in favour of its farm lobby.
“Already one leading NGO, Fish and Game, have pulled out of the Land and Water Forum. LAWF does some good work but unfortunately some of its recommendations are lowest common denominator and others have been undermined by government.
“This latest plan is just further proof that National can’t be trusted to keep our rivers clean,” says David Parker.