The opposition’s dangerous plan to scrap rules to improve the health of rivers and lakes around Aotearoa highlights the importance of having a strong Green Party in Parliament, says Green Party Environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“The new leadership of the opposition is trying to take their party back decades by saying rules to look after the health of rivers ‘would be gone by lunchtime’ if they were in power”, said Eugenie Sage.
“This would be very risky for Aotearoa’s waterways and aquifers. New Zealanders want to be able to swim in our rivers without getting sick.
“The Green Party is committed to improving the health of waterways. Clean, healthy waterways support fish and wildlife, provide safe sources of drinking water, and are the lifeblood of communities.
“With the Greens at the heart of Government we’ve worked to introduce the strongest ever water reforms.
“This has include the National Policy Statement on Freshwater and accompanying standards to make sure all rivers are swimmable within a generation; and to improve water quality in urban and rural areas.
“For the first time, rules for water will prioritise ecosystem baselines and Māori cultural values. These changes mean water quality will improve over time, restoring our lakes, rivers and wetlands so people can swim safely, freshwater species can thrive, and aquifers are protected.
“The Greens want to go further, and faster. We are committed to strengthening the standards to make sure nitrogen limits are based on the best science and that regional councils have enough resources to ensure healthy rivers.
“New Zealand’s valuable food and fibre exports rely on our clean green reputation internationally. It’s important that environmental safeguards are upheld to help maintain that.
“The opposition wants to throw out these safeguards, yet have no plan to clean up waterways and stop pollution in urban or rural streams and rivers.
“The Greens will continue to work to protect Aotearoa’s waterways,” said Eugenie Sage.