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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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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Fight for democracy deserves international attention

It’s now been four years since the National Government passed the law that removed the right of Cantabrians to vote for their regional council and  moved to appoint its own hand picked commissioners. They, not elected councillors, are making the crucial decisions about environmental and resource management  for the residents of New Zealand’s second largest […]

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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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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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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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In defence of science

While universities are primarily charged with promoting learning they also have a vital role as the critic and conscience of society.  Scientists ask questions, investigate, research, analyse the data and report on the results. Their work informs the public debate.  How then are we to interpret repeated attacks on university scientists such as Massey University’s […]

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Fourth Dirty Water Tour starts in Southland

I launched our fourth “Dirty Water Tour” this week at Invercargill’s New River Estuary, with Southland Green Party member Dave Kennedy, and Maurice Rodway of Fish and Game.  Invercargill could potentially overtake Oamaru as the heritage capital of the south  – distinctive and attractive heritage buildings abound. Natural heritage at the nearby New River Estuary, […]

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Stratford public meeting: unanimous support for fracking moratorium from the frontlines

Last night I attended a public meeting in Stratford, Taranaki to discuss the local hydraulic fracturing or fracking occurring in the region. The community passed a unanimous motion to call on the Taranaki Councils to place an immediate moratorium on fracking, and to call for an independent inquiry into the process and what is occurring in Taranaki.

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Boom times for oil and gas?

This morning’s  Dominion article about ‘boom times’ for the gas and oil exploration industry is an intriguing, even slightly funny, mix of boosterism, drum beating and dissimulation. The Chair of PEPANZ appears almost breathless with excitement as he seeks to fulfil the primary objective of his organisation, “to publicise, promote and advance the interests of […]

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Aucklanders, you know you’re drinking the Waikato River

One in three New Zealanders (Auckland, Hamilton et al) have a very direct interest in the quality of the water coming down the Waikato River because their drinking water is extracted from that catchment. The more polluted that water is, the more expensive and difficult it is to treat it. So how bad is the water at the end of the Waikato river?

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Podcast: Russel’s Dirty Rivers Wrap-up

Russel is about to wrap his second annual Dirty Rivers Rafting Tour. Russel has been visiting rivers that are either dangerously polluted, or threatened due to large dam and irrigation projects, and rafting or kayaking them with local environmentalists, whitewater enthusiasts, iwi, farmers, and media. The purpose of the tour is to highlight the threats […]

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The last line of defence to save the Wairau River from TrustPower

Meet Joan and John McLauchlan. They are farmers from the Wairau Valley near Blenheim and they are the last line of defence against TrustPower’s attempts to destroy the Wairau River. I launched my 2011 summer Rivers Tour on the Wairau River on Monday with 25 of us paddling down a section of the river. TrustPower, majority owned by […]

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