Government Ministers need to review their decision to leave out nitrogen pollution limits from last year's freshwater law reform.
Yesterday, Radio New Zealand revealed the Government ignored advice from the Freshwater Leaders' Group, Kaahui Wai Māori, the Science and Technical Advisory Group, Ministry for the Environment, and the Regional Sector Group about introducing a nitrate pollution bottom line of 1.0 mg/L (DIN) for rivers, after the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) advised it would be too expensive for industry.
The Government's decision was to delay consideration of a nitrogen pollution bottom line for 12 months, but the Minister for the Environment, David Parker, has since made a statement implying the review may not be necessary.
“We’re calling on the Minister for the Environment to commit to reviewing national nitrogen pollution limits, as promised last year.”
“New Zealand can have thriving communities and the clean freshwater that people, fish, and birds rely on. In fact, we need both,” says Forest & Bird freshwater advocate Tom Kay.
“Government communications show the Ministry of Primary Industries is holding the country back. MPI should help rural communities meet much needed pollution standards instead of opposing those standards.”
A Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) limit of 1.0 mg/L is the safe limit for ecosystem health in rivers. There is emerging evidence that even this level could be dangerous for drinking water.
“New Zealand has built an agricultural system that relies on pollution and degradation of the environment. MPI and Ministers need to reform that system into one that works for people and nature.”
“We need to work together on solutions to improve water. The status quo is not an option,” says Mr Kay.
"Let's work together to make the changes to restore our freshwater and introduce them in a way that helps people and wildlife.”