Wānaka Sun       

Government walks away from freshwater rules

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 08 Apr, 2021 | By Forest & Bird Author

The Government has caved to pressure from industry by backing away from rules that would protect Southland's rivers from pollution.

 The Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Agriculture announced late recently they are delaying the introduction of rules to protect freshwater from the effects of intensive winter grazing, a practice which often results in stock living in mud and streams running brown with sediment.  

 “Everyone in New Zealand wants clean rivers again,” said Forest & Bird freshwater advocate Tom Kay.

 “Delaying freshwater reforms which were already agreed on just means our rivers will be polluted for yet another year.

 “It's unbelievable that Ministers Parker and O'Connor have agreed to delay ending the worst of intensive winter grazing in Southland, which everyone agrees causes pollution, destroys habitats for native fish and birds, and can be cruel to farm animals.

 “It's clear the government has caved to pressure from intensive farmers instead of standing firm for freshwater health, and upholding the promises they made to all New Zealanders. We know Southland's streams and rivers are already overloaded with pollution, so waiting another year is a huge waste of time.

 “Relying on draft farm plans, as the industry has agreed to, makes it incredibly difficult to know what's going on and what's impacting the health of our rivers. It doesn't set an environmental minimum standard for freshwater.

“This delay means we can continue to expect to see cows stuck in massive swathes of mud, and effluent and sediment continuing to pollute Southland's rivers this winter.

 “Ministers Parker and O'Connor have kicked the can down the road for another year, and the rules we need to protect our rivers from pollution are stuck in the mud. It's beyond disappointing,” said Kay.

Read edition 1021 of the Wānaka Sun here. 

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