Troutfishing Lobby Backs River Protection Calls
Troutfishing Lobby Backs River Protection Calls.
A national trout fishing advocacy, the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers, has backed calls by the Tourism Industry, the Environmental Defence Society and Department of Conservation to safeguard public rivers.
Just last week, the government announced a further $1.6 million worth of funding for three irrigation schemes.
The calls came from the Tourism Export Council that New Zealand’s tourism could be harmed by continuing and increasing exploitation of rivers for irrigation while the conservation department has warned that government plans to alter the Resource Management Act will cut the public’s rights to object to water exploitation. Statutory organisations with responsibilities for freshwater management, such as Fish & Game NZ, would also be affected.
Ken Sims of the Manawatu and spokesman for the Federation of Freshwater Anglers said the calls were very timely in the face of government continuing to dogmatically push for more large scale irrigation using taxpayer’s money, and to make it more difficult to oppose this exploitation. “Given the timing, it is difficult not to see this as a Government response to their plans for the Ruataniwha Dam being partially thwarted” he said.
“It should not be forgotten that these rivers are public resources and not up for grabs by corporate dairying or other commercial interests. Statements by John Key and Nathan Guy today would indicate that both cannot yet see that rampant agricultural intensification is the problem, not the solution.
He said government had long signalled its disregard for rivers and its obsession with exploitation when it proposed lowering river quality standards from fit for swimming to fit for boating and wading. ‘After all you could boat in a sewage pond and (in waders), wade in a cesspool,” he said.
Ken Sims said government intentions were short-sighted monetary greed.
“What legacy will be left for future generations?”
He said he was deeply disappointed that legislation to lower water standards came from present or recent past government’s environment and conservation ministers thereby demeaning their portfolios.
(Photos from TRM library)
Milestone reached on Waikato and Waipa rivers restoration
23 March 2016
Major milestone reached on Waikato and Waipa rivers restoration
A major milestone has been reached on the journey to restore and protect the Waikato and Waipa rivers with the development of a broad policy mix framework for improving the health and well-being of the waterways over the next 80 years.
The Restoring and protecting our water/Te whakapaipai me te tiaki i ō tātou wai report was yesterday formally received by the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora committee, made up of Waikato-Tainui, Maniapoto, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa and Waikato Regional Council representatives.
The report was formulated by the multi-sector Collaborative Stakeholder Group used to work on a Waikato regional plan change under the Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai project. The legally binding Te Ture Whaimana (Vision and Strategy) for the catchment requires water bodies to be fishable and swimmable along their entire length over time and the project was established to look at measures for achieving this goal. Also, the Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 requires regional councils to manage water quality by setting objectives, limits and targets for all water bodies.
Assuming the recommendation is endorsed, public consultation on a plan change will commence soon after, enabling the wider public to have its say (the wider public has already been involved in the development of the policy mix through sector meetings and community workshops, online surveys and other mechanisms).
“The policy mix provides a sound basis for developing the final suite of tools that will be recommended to assist in achieving the Vision and Strategy in a phased way over the next 80 years.
I would like to thank the CSG and our iwi partners for the hard work they have put in to get to this point.”
Co-chair Kataraina Hodge, from Raukawa, said: “Restoration and protection of the awa is of paramount importance to river iwi and it is great to be putting in place the roadmap that will ensure future generations will be able to swim and gather food like our tūpuna did in the past. We have appreciated the way stakeholders have come together to develop solutions to the issues we need to address to assist in achieving the outcomes sought by Te Ture Whaimana.”
The CSG’s independent chair Bill Wasley thanked the group’s members for their extensive work over the past few years developing the policy mix. “Our challenge now will be to take this framework and flesh out the detail of the proposed plan change we will finally recommend to the committee in June. This will be a significant task given the various environmental, economic, social and cultural considerations we need to take account of, and the ongoing feedback and input.”
Key features of the policy mix framework include a range of measures to reduce nutrients, sediment and bacteria from entering waterways, while collecting the necessary information to support further measures in future. The framework is particularly focused on the impacts of higher intensity farming on water quality. The CSG has agreed on limiting major land use change in the rivers’ catchments and restricting stock access to water.
Agreed measures also include the need for many farms above a specified low intensity to have a resource consent and a property management plan or to have a plan and be part of an industry land management scheme. Plans would cover reducing the loss of contaminants to water. Landholder compliance with consents would be audited. Exactly how the council would support farmers to make these changes is still being worked on by the CSG but it’s expected the property management plan approach will require more one-on-one interaction with landholders.
On the issue of potential limits on nitrogen discharges from individual properties, the CSG agrees that at this stage the focus should be on gathering more information on such discharges so as to provide a sound basis for managing them on an individual property basis in the next plan change.
Mr Wasley said a key area the CSG was still looking at was the exact river health outcomes that should be expected from the various measures after 10 to 20 years. “We want to be clear on the short-term goals we want to achieve as we work towards the long-term realisation of the Vision and Strategy.”
“The intent is to work closely with representatives from farming and other sectors on where and how we make progress on measures outlined in the final plan change,” said Mr Wasley.
• Our picture shows co-chairs Hodge and Livingston at Hopuhopu yesterday with a copy of the report.