Does Nick Smith think New Zealanders are stupid? His dirty rivers spin sure makes it look that way. Just calling the standards for wading and boating “swimmable” is not progress. At 540 Ecoli per 100mL, the new “swimmable’ means 1 in 20 people are at risk of getting sick. Is this what thousands of people […]
Yesterday, Hon David Parker and I spoke at the Freshwater Management and Infrastructure Forum at Te Papa. The audience was mainly Council staff, irrigators and fertiliser people. David and I were in agreement that there we must change the standards for freshwater to be genuinely swimmable. We agree that we need a price on the […]
Photo credit: Greg O’Beirne. Waimakariri River, Canterbury, New Zealand. *A version of this column appeared on stuff.co.nz and in The Dominion Post Where have you been swimming this summer? The beach? A river? Or have you avoided swimming because you’re not sure about whether the water will make you sick? Or maybe your local swimming […]
Lots of people are saying 2016 has been a bit of a shocker, with political events like Brexit and Trump; US Police shooting black people – and the emergence of Black Lives Matter; the death of legendary musicians like Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen (and let’s not forget Lemmy at the very end of 2015) […]
Last week, I announced that I will not stand again at the next election. Don’t worry though, I’ll be in Parliament working hard until that date, which will be the end of my third term here. I’m leaving not because I am ungrateful for my extraordinary opportunities as a Green MP; it’s because it feels […]
Every week, I get media alerts about unhealthy water, including algae risks at swimming spots and boil water notices in small towns. It got personal the other week when I went kayaking on a river and found a rash on my arms and legs wherever I had touched the water. The rash formed small itchy […]
When Environment Minister Nick Smith said in Parliament that some waterways – like Auckland’s Lucas Creek – are not worth saving because no-one wants to swim in them, he forgot to ask the locals we met last week who have put hours of work into restoring Lucas Creek river to health for their community so that it is safe to swim in once more.
The fifth river in our Swimmable Rivers tour is an urban river on the North Shore called Lucas Creek, which runs from the outer suburban edge near Paremoremo through to the Waitemata harbour. The river came to our attention when Dr Nick Smith, the Minister for the Environment, named it in Parliament as a very polluted […]
Last week Gareth and I went rafting down a rapid past local rangatahi swimming in this pristine fresh water of the upper Tarawera River.
Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is painfully clear to the people I meet as I travel around the country, visiting rivers […]