Rules for freshwater management? Never!

Kiran Chug has a great story in this morning’s Dominion Post: the sorry tale of the proposed National Policy Statement on Freshwater management. Our rivers are getting dirtier and dirtier while this document languishes.

A quick history:

National policy statements are tools that can be developed under the Resource Management Act to guide local and regional councils to make decisions when local concerns conflict with issues of national significance.

A draft NPS on fresh water was started under the Labour Government, but the draft produced was waffly, ineffective, unclear, and wouldn’t have done anything much to protect our clean up our waterways.

That draft was referred to a Board of Inquiry headed by Judge David Shepperd who reviewed it, heard public submissions, and made suggestions to improve it. These suggestions amount to a substantial re-write and the new draft is strong, clear, and ambitious about setting targets and timeframes for actually improving water quality and stemming the tide of environmental destruction.

This draft was provided to Environment Minister Nick Smith back in January, but he has clearly put it in the “too hard” basket, and kicked it to touch for the Land and Water Forum to consider. That group is due to report back in July (and reaching consensus will be no mean feat).

In the meantime, our rivers are getting dirtier and dirtier, and this potentially helpful tool is languishing. It’s great to see it getting a public airing. This issue was also featured on Nine to Noon this morning, including Russel, Nick Smith, and Federated Farmers’ dairy chairperson Lachlan McKenzie.

And what did McKenzie have to say about it? I’ve got to hand it to him, he didn’t beat around the bush:

“We don’t need that one. That one has rules in it.”

Perish the thought!

11 Comments Posted

  1. Here’s my guess about Nick Smith’s plan for the water NPS:

    – put in a strong NPS
    – notice that it inconveniences a bunch of people
    – use their support to gut more regional councils and the RMA
    – strong NPS becomes irrelevant

    I don’t have any evidence, or anything rad like that, for the above theory.

  2. “I think the political agendas are recognised all right – I haven’t seen anyone describe Nick Smith as a ‘bad man’, simply shown that he is not doing his job.”

    The point is that he is doing his job. His job, as he and his party see it, is to support business. The problem is his party’s agenda, not whether he is good or bad, or failing to carry out his duties.

  3. Sorry Sam, if I gave the impression that I don’t see the political agenda here. I think Nick Smith has put it in the too hard basket BECAUSE it might constrain business profits. Instead of saying that up front, he’s kicked it to the Land and Water Forum (even though they can’t make decisions or recommendations on it, it’s the Minister’s decision and his alone). I don’t think he’s a bad man, but I think this is bad, bad bad!

    By the way, here’s a link to the Nine to Noon interviews from this morning:

    I understand there will be coverage on Checkpoint too.


  4. I think the political agendas are recognised all right – I haven’t seen anyone describe Nick Smith as a ‘bad man’, simply shown that he is not doing his job.

  5. “he has clearly put it in the “too hard” basket”

    No he hasn’t – he’s put it in the “I don’t want this because it might constrain business profits” basket.

    Seems to be a huge reluctance by the Green party to acknowledge that there are political agendas behind people’s actions these days. Why is this? It’s pretty basic stuff.

    All I’m hearing is “Murray McCully is a bad man”, “Nick Smith is a bad man” “Alan Crafar is a bad man” etc. It’s like reading childrens’ stories.

  6. “We don’t need that one. That one has rules in it.”

    Gosh yes, it might have lumps in it as well!

  7. The Feds findings etc..

    a topic which sparks my familiarity with what the heritage peeple once referred to as the brasilian solution. Originated by the then state department, implemented by churches and their affiliates in a chosen society and intent — so very focussed such ‘believers’ can be, too — on gaining political powers..

    with time for an internet search or two, start date their 1964 coup a sense of operability cvan be made available..

    Russell would appear entirely correct, yet methinks Smith hasn’t got a show.. against this kind of subterfuge..

    hence the strong desire for ‘all change’..

  8. Where do the Feds find these guys?

    They select them when they are young and feed them on a special diet of rural drivel and conservative bullshit and then force them to join the Yound Nats.

  9. I thought Nick Smith’s comments on Nine to Noon, that he didn’t want to act unilaterally by introducing the NPS, were laughable given that he recently moved unilaterally against Water Conservation Orders in Canterbury and Key is unilaterally talking about subsidies for irrigation in Canterbury.

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