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New Zealand Environment Minister May Reset Water Quality Standards

  • New Zealand, July 3, 2018: New Zealand Environment Minister, David Parker is expected to look at newly proposed water quality standards to replace the much-criticised ones that were introduced by the previous government in 2017.

    The older water standards were roundly criticised for introducing "weaker standards for swimming" which did not actually measure the health of lakes and rivers.

    The administrating organisation for the sports fishing and gamebird resources in New Zealand, Fish and Game has wrote to the environment minister proposing a National Policy Statement for freshwater management, with input from Forest and Bird, the Environmental Defence Society and Greenpeace.

    Fish and Game Chief Executive, Martin Taylor noted that the previous standards changed the definition of what qualified as an excellent body of water because the then-government knew it had a problem with water quality.

    "What was poor water quality you determine it to be excellent and then you sell it on being excellent, so that's the approach that they had. We've taken it back to the descriptors are accurate, when we say excellent we mean excellent," Mr Taylor said.

    The biggest difference in these proposed standards is that the Freshwater National Policy Statement would look at the health of ecosystems. Mr Taylor said the bottom line was being able to swim and collect food from rivers and lakes without getting sick.

    The previous standards were introduced by former environment minister Nick Smith, who dismissed criticism of them as "junk science".