Councils need to better protect our drinking water

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to the proposed Land and Water Plan and I popped along to listen. Variation 1 covers […]

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Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for Fresh Water: New Initiatives Fund. This was “to address the problem of poor freshwater quality […]

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The Waitaki River needs our help

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing a major change to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan. This change would reduce the river’s minimum flow by a third (from 150 to 102 cubic meters per second) for periods over the summer. A lower minimum flow risks even poorer water quality, more didymo infestation, increased predation of braided riverbed birds nesting […]

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Silver Fern Farms fails the Waimakariri River

[UPDATED] Silver Fern Farms Ltd’s recent application to Environment Canterbury to discharge treated meatworks waste(3500 cubic meters per day) including fat and faecal matter into the Waimakariri River highlights why we need change of Government . We need the stronger national bottomlines for water quality and a network of protected rivers as the Green Party […]

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Tukituki Plan decision bad news for Government’s weak water quality rules

Yesterday’s release of the Board of Inquiry’s final decisions on the regional plan provisions for the Tukituki River and catchment as part of the Ruataniwha dam project confirms that National’s favoured approach to bottom lines for water quality will not help our rivers. The Board of Inquiry for the Tukituki Catchment Proposal rejected the Government’s […]

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Barrick Gold’s violence highlights need for ethical investment

The Green Party has long advocated for ethical investment by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.  Several companies, in which the Super Fund invests, have been accused of human rights violations, the production of nuclear arms, and causing severe environmental damage. One such company was Barrick Gold– a Canadian mining company which has caused environmental damage […]

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Conflicts of interest in regional councils’ management of water

Judith Collins failed to recognise the conflict of interest in having dinner with a Chinese border official and the CEO and director of the Oravida company on which her husband is a director. An equally troubling conflict of interest is occurring in regional councils. Water is a common property resource which regional councils manage on […]

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Big defects in Environmental Reporting Bill

Government introduced its long promised  Environmental Reporting Bill (ER Bill) last week. It reneges on its previous election commitments for independent state of the environment (SOE) reporting and instead proposes a poorly designed halfway house. This would see the Ministers for the Environment and of Statistics choosing what topics the reporting should cover, the Ministry […]

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Water quality will get worse under Government’s policy proposals

New Zealanders want our rivers, lakes and streams to be clean and safe for swimming and to support healthy fisheries. They don’t want them to be the equivalent of urban or farm drains. The Government’s response to public submissions on its proposed national objectives framework (NOF) and amendments to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater […]

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Help save our rivers – make a quick submission

New Zealanders are worried about our rivers and lakes. They want them better managed with less farm run-off.   In Lincoln University’s 2013 survey of perceptions of the state of the environment  respondents said freshwater management was the most important domestic environmental issue facing New Zealand, just as they did in 2010 and 2008 . Some […]

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Precautionary approach to GE in the Bay of Plenty?

I had a visitor this week from the USA. Phillip Geertson called into New Zealand to describe to me in detail how genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa (lucerne) had effectively contaminated all conventional alfalfa growing areas in the United States, and why we should be concerned about any further imports of alfalfa seed here. Phillip’s company, […]

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Monorail project risky for environment and investors

There has been a spate of media articles about the proposed $200 million Southland monorail recently after its Riverstone Holdings director and Bob Robertson gave journalists a promotional tour and helicopter ride over the area. The company is engaged in a heavy PR campaign by claiming public support for the proposal. Save Fiordland’s 20,000 strong […]

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A regional perspective on the proposed RMA changes

Guest Post by Cath Gilmour, Councillor, Queenstown Lakes District Council. I haven’t written to Winston Peters before but I wrote to him last week to encourage New Zealand First to join the Greens, Labour, United Future and the Maori Party in opposing National’s changes to the heart of our environmental law, the Resource Management Act […]

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Sir Geoffrey Palmer on what’s wrong with National’s proposed changes to our environmental law

The NZ Fish and Game Council recently asked former Environment Minister and RMA architect Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC to analyse the Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, one of our most important environmental laws.  Sir Geoffrey’s 65 page report is well worth reading. We hope current Environment Minister Amy Adams considers it carefully […]

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Akaroa Harbour marine reserve welcome news

Gareth has previously posted about the Dan Rogers marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour.  Living on Banks Peninsula and having helped promote the reserve I wanted to share my thoughts and thank and congratulate the reserve applicants, Kathleen and Brian Reid and the Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society who When the Government is opening up conservation […]

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Before we fix water quality we need to stop allowing more pollution

The Prime Minister bragged about how much money his Government is spending on water clean-ups today, but he failed to admit that the money required for clean-up of our rivers and lakes will increase because of his policies. Nearly every study on water quality shows that land use intensification leads to water pollution. Yet the […]

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Is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English a climate change denier?

Is the Deputy Prime Minister of our country a climate change denier? It may well be the case. During question time in Parliament yesterday I wanted to get into the lack of focus and inaction from this Government on climate change which is starkly highlighted by the suffering our drought-stricken farmers are going through. I […]

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