​Sensible plan for freshwater clean-up

28 May 2020

Water New Zealand says the Government’s Action for Healthy Waterways package provides a sensible and realistic way forward and will result in much-needed improvements in freshwater quality.

Acting CEO John Mackie says it’s vital that there is no further degradation of water quality and that there is a workable plan in place to ensure long term improvements in the state of our water.

He says the commitment of $700-m investment to improve water quality through riparian fencing, planting, wetland works and waterway improvements, will provide significant benefits for New Zealand.

“Freshwater quality has been in decline for many years and the specific improvement targets in this package provides for a long-term commitment to clean up our waterways.

“Using Te Mana o te Wai as the guiding principle clearly, and rightly, prioritises healthy water as the key priority. “

He says he welcomes the directive to councils to manage E.coli levels in areas where people swim.

“Swimming in rivers, lakes and the sea has always been an integral part of New Zealand life and we need to take steps to ensure that all recreational waters are returned to a healthy state.

“While it is important to put controls on high risk farming practices and reduce the impact of nitrate on ground and drinking water, we need to continue to support the wellbeing of the productive sector.

“We have to acknowledge the effect of drought and COVID 19 on the country’s economy and the role the primary sector will play in our post COVID-19 recovery.

“That’s why we support the move to delay the proposed national bottom line for dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) at this stage to allow more time for a review of the environmental and economic implications.”