The Government’s weak strategy for cleaning up fresh water won’t undo years of abuse, unless we change our farming model, and take a hard long look at how we develop land in this country, the Green Party said today.
The comments come on the back of a report by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman, which found that some waterways are beyond tipping point and others will take decades to recover.
“When even National’s science advisor is pointing out how agricultural intensification has wreaked havoc on our waterways, you have to wonder why the Government is persisting in trying to double our primary exports and push for growth at all costs,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“New Zealanders told the Government that they want swimmable rivers, but National’s solutions to the water crisis will only see waterways further polluted by development. The Government’s solutions are just a band aid on a broken leg that future generations are being left to fix up.
“We need a moratorium on new dairy farms that will give us time to look at how we can change the farming model and reduce the number of cows on farms, and prevent their waste from polluting our rivers and leaching into groundwater. Nitrates from cow waste and over-use of fertilisers wash into our rivers and poison habitats for fish and other animals.
“All the riparian planting and fencing animals out of waterways won’t address the real issue affecting water in rural areas, which is that there are too many cows crammed into this country’s paddocks,” said Ms Delahunty.