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Government’s freshwater plan

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Fertiliser cuts, irrigation limits and discharge watching part of Government’s freshwater plan

Newshub reports:

Farmers and councils will be held responsible for freshwater quality in the Government’s new proposed standards to protect waterways “under serious threat”.

The proposals were outlined in a draft National Policy Statement and National Environment Standards: Freshwater paper released on Thursday.

The Government wants to cut fertiliser use and pollution going into waterways, protect urban streams, and improve protection for wetlands on both public and private land.

“If we don’t fix things now they only get worse and will be more expensive to fix,” Environment Minister David Parker said at the announcement.

“Cleaning up polluted waterways is a long-term challenge that will take a generation to fix, but the steps in this plan will make a real difference and get things heading in the right direction.”

It follows the Government recently announcing plans to amend the Resource Management Act (RMA).

The Government set aside almost $300 million in the Budget to help farmers transition to environmentally-friendly practices.

What are the big proposals?
 

Draining of wetlands will be tightly restricted under the proposal, and use of fertiliser will be reduced.

Remaining streams in urban areas will not be piped or filled in unless there is no other option, for example to provide a crossing.

There will be improvements to setting minimum water flows and reporting on water use, as well as tighter management of land use in areas that are sources of drinking water so supply isn’t contaminated.

Minimum standards for wastewater discharges and overflows would be set and all operators would be required to follow good practice and management.

Farmers would have to have a plan to manage the risks posed to freshwater in their area.

From June 2020, new irrigation or conversion to dairying would only be allowed where there is clear evidence it will not increase pollution.

Farmers would also have to make efforts to exclude stock from waterways through more fencing to keep them out of waterways and reduce erosion, and capture contaminants before they reach freshwater.

Councils held to account
 

Councils will be held to account for freshwater quality in being required to report against five components of the ecosystem: aquatic life, habitat, water quality, water quantity, and ecological process.

“We are working on a template for a standard summary ‘report card’ that regional councils will be able to use,” the report says.

“We are proposing that councils are required to measure and manage a broader range of ecosystem health attributes.”

They will be required to set a target that will ensure water quality is maintained or improved, and proactively manage land and water use towards that target

In the event that an area being watched declines, or is below a national bottom line, councils would have to implement an action plan to improve.

You can see the result of the horse trading in the COL right here. Dairying is bad, so lets reduce the cow numbers any way we can. The Greens have always been against any improvements in the countries economy. Why change now!

Nothing about our worst poluters though. The local councils all around the country continue to pollute the beaches and waterways with no follow up or prosecutions. It’s far easier to hit the productive sector, while leaving the bludging sector alone.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. That urban “bludging sector” are strong voices on social media! They don’t not know the facts but they are never shy about blaming the farming sector because that’s who the Greens and Greenpeace say are to blame.

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  2. Is this any different to what has been happening now for about 10 years? And have they set standards and targets and means of measurement any different from what already exists?
    All bluster and bullshit, and copy-cat virtue signalling.

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    • Twenty years ago I was an elected councillor. I was on board when council put its Regional Plan together and we covered most of the areas talked in the NPS back then.
      We also had very pro active farmers that were subsidised to plant riparian strips and there were many joint schemes implemented to do this.
      I was a strong advocate for protecting/managing wetlands and council had a number of management plans for prominent wetlands and these were long term plans which prioritised where the money was spent.(rates)
      To me the announcement today makes me want to say ‘where the hell have these people been?’
      Of course now rates will go up for no reason but I guess they will all ‘feel good.’

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  3. The COLs plan to introduce a new clean water act, could run into problems!
    How can you bring in restrictions on farmers and leave all the bigger polluters alone?
    All the inland cities like Palmerston North and Hamilton use the rivers to dump sewage and stormwater in.
    As well as umpten rural towns do the same!
    What about the towns on the ocean front like Auckland that dumps shit and bans areas fom fishing and swiming! I maybe wrong but I think New Plymouth was one of the first to treat everything before discharge. I think one of it’s mayors led that event was a surfer who did not like the little brown bobbers!
    You can’t bring in rules to hinder one group and give free reign over someone else!
    This is going to upset the apple cart!

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    • Sooty
      “Could run into problems”
      “Going to upset the apple cart”

      I’d like to think so, but this government has the power to force it through.
      Urban dwellers will like it, as long as they do not have to pay.
      Do the farmers have enough lobbying power?

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