The PCE State of the Environment Report shows that river water quality is continuing to get worse across large parts of New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment and Water spokesperson David Parker.
“Water quality has deteriorated in Canterbury, Central Otago, Auckland, Taranaki, Central North Island, the Wairarapa and the Manawatu.
“After eight years of National, this is a fail. Land use intensity that is increasing pollution to our rivers is not yet under control. National’s wadability (rather than swimability) minimum standard is part of the problem.
“New Zealand needs to return to the form of National Policy Statement under the RMA recommended by former Chief Environment Court Judge Sheppard. It said clean rivers should be kept clean and dirty rivers cleaned up over a generation. To achieve this increases in land use intensity should not be a permitted activity until plans have the rules needed to keep our rivers clean.
“The problems caused by erosion, including the siltation of our rivers and estuaries, are made worse by poor government policy. Current water and climate change policy distorts land use choices to the detriment of forestry profitability. This is a significant cause of the problem,” says David Parker.