| GOVT PLANS WILL WRECK RIVER PROTECTION
|Posted by :
||Date : 13-03-13 16:27
||Views : 4258
Fish & Game NZ says the Government’s ‘Freshwater reform’ package will
wreck Water Conservation Order (WCO) legislation protecting New Zealand’s
most outstanding rivers and lakes.
“A WCO affords water bodies National Park level protection status, and is the
only statutory tool we have that puts serious integrity behind freshwater in
the ‘100% Pure’ Kiwi brand,” says Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson.
“It’s appalling that this Government is trying to dupe the public by saying it
is ‘improving’ the WCO process when in reality its plans will render WCOs
useless as a tool to protect rivers from a greedy few for increased irrigation
and intensive farming. Make no mistake, this is all about escalating the public
water grab for private industry.
“Exploiting our remaining pristine rivers demonstrates the Government’s total
disrespect for anything that gets in the road of so-called ‘economic growth’,
this anti-environment agenda blindly ignoring both the economic impact on
tourism as well as the connection Kiwis have with our rivers, lakes and
treasured natural places.”
The strength of WCO law is that outstanding water bodies are protected –
end of story. But Mr Johnson warns that the Government’s proposals would
create a process for all existing WCO-protected rivers to be opened up for ‘
economic growth’, which is precisely what WCOs were established by a
previous National government to counter.
“How is that an ‘improvement’? It’s like saying National Park protection is
being improved by allowing mining,” says Mr Johnson.
Fish & Game and its licenced anglers and hunters, along with other conservation
organisations and Iwi, have spent millions of dollars to safeguard some of the
country’s most outstanding waterways through WCO applications.
This has enabled the protection of highly-valued sport fisheries (such as trout and salmon),
habitat of native species and freshwater-based recreation for all New Zealanders.
Further, Mr Johnson says the proposals are completely counter to what
the Land and Water Forum (LWF) actually recommended to Government.
“LWF recommended that WCOs should be strengthened ‘to achieve an integrated
management approach including land use’. In other words, to require adjoining land
uses to be compatible with a river’s protected status – the upper Mohaka River,
which has a WCO, has been ruined by the failure of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council
to control dairy expansion and the associated pollution in a major tributary.
“Not only that, there’s been no consultation at all. The Government clearly has no
mandate for such proposals – it’s a National disgrace in every sense!
“New Zealanders from all walks of life love their rivers and lakes and are deeply
concerned about their continued and sustained environmental degradation.
Part of the real ‘New Zealand Story’ is about being able to swim and fish and
gather food from clean waterways – it isn’t about having already protected
rivers opened up to economic development to benefit a minority group of
For more information on WCOs visit: www.OutstandingRivers.co.nz
For further comment contact Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson – 021397897
Fish & Game NZ