Labour: Govt failing on water quality

  • 04/11/2015
Labour: Govt failing on water quality

Labour is blaming the Government for a key member pulling out of a taskforce which collaboratively manage's the country's land and water.

"Fish & Game New Zealand's resignation from the Land and Water Forum is an indictment of the National government's failure to take action on New Zealand's declining fresh water quality," Labour's water spokeswoman Meka Whaitiri said today.

Fish & Game had been a plenary member of the forum, alongside the likes of Irrigation NZ, Fonterra, Dairy NZ but also Forest & Bird and Landcare Trust.

This week it was revealed the fishing and game hunting lobby group had pulled out because forum members had wanted Fish & Game to be described as an "active partner".

Fish & Game insisted it be called an "active observer" to protect its independence but when the forum insisted on the partner term - saying it was good enough for regional councils - that sparked the withdrawal.

Chief executive Bryce Johnson later told Radio New Zealand that being inside the forum stopped it from speaking to the media about its concerns and also discouraged it from lobbying ministers.

"So we just decided we need to be able to do our own job the way we think we should be able to do it."

Ms Whaitiri said Fish & Game's decision was no surprise and comes after the landmark Environment Aotearoa report showed the damage farming was doing to water and soils.

"The whole collaborative approach has been found wanting," she said.

"Environment Minister Nick Smith refuses to take any responsibility for the decline in water quality under his watch and National is willing to let things get worse."