Forest & Bird is calling for the Government to focus on delivering clean and healthy freshwater for New Zealand in spite of pressure from some in the agriculture industry.
The Ministry for the Environment released discussion documents today on freshwater farm plans and fencing rules, some of which ease requirements for fencing.
“After an outpouring of support from the public the Government promised far stronger rules to restore the health of rivers within a generation. Yet now they appear to be bending the rules to appease some loud industry interests,” says Forest & Bird Freshwater Advocate Tom Kay.
“All New Zealanders recognise we have a big problem with pollution. An MFE report says 95-99% of rivers by length in urban, pastoral, and exotic forests exceed water quality guidelines.”
“The new freshwater regulations need to be implemented so we can have safe water for drinking, swimming, and for healthy ecosystems. We cannot allow them to be weakened by the industries that profit from polluting our freshwater.”
The documents released today include discussion on existing stock exclusions rules, proposing to ease the requirements for fencing on some land. They also provide guidance for how farm plans should align with freshwater regulation.
“For the most part, the documents released today will help give farmers certainty and support in their work to restore the rivers, lakes and groundwater,” says Mr Kay.
“We have the solutions, which were developed collaboratively with the farming sector, now we need the Government to stand strong in implementing them.”
“Everyone deserves clean, safe drinking water and healthy, thriving rivers.”