Shift­ing the fresh­wa­ter bur­den

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

The Gov­ern­ment is shift­ing the bur­den of mon­i­tor­ing fresh­wa­ter onto coun­cils, For­est and Bird says.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal group said the Gov­ern­ment’s new Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment would make mon­i­tor­ing wa­ter­ways Auck­land Coun­cil’s is­sue.

In Fe­bru­ary the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced amend­ments to the Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment, which En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Nick Smith said would cost the Gov­ern­ment, farm­ers and coun­cils $2 bil­lion over the next 23 years to im­ple­ment.

The Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment would change ’’wade­able’’ to ‘‘swimmable’’ and aimed to have 90 per cent of all lakes and rivers ‘‘swimmable’’ by 2040.

In or­der to be mon­i­tored by the Gov­ern­ment a wa­ter­way would need to be fed by three or more trib­u­taries and be more than 40 cen­time­tres deep.

A map For­est and Bird re­leased ear­lier this month showed only one wa­ter­way in cen­tral Auck­land, an underground wa­ter­way in One­hunga, would fall un­der the new pol­icy.

For­est and Bird’s Auck­land man­ager Nick Bev­eridge said the rest of the wa­ter­ways would not be cov­ered and would have to be dealt with by Auck­land Coun­cil.

‘‘The Gov­ern­ment’s of­fload­ing it onto the coun­cil and they might not have the bud­gets or willpower to do any­thing about it,’’ Bev­eridge said.

If a mon­i­tored wa­ter­way had less than 540 E coli per 100 millil­itres of wa­ter 80 per cent of the time it would get a tick un­der the new pol­icy.

Auck­land Coun­cil’s healthy wa­ters strat­egy and re­silience man­ager Andrew Chin said the gov­ern­ment wasn’t of­fload­ing onto the coun­cil, but coun­cil did ex­pect the new standard would lead to an in­crease of its mon­i­tor­ing in some ar­eas.

‘‘There will be a drive to im­prove the wa­ter quality,’’ Chin said.

‘‘While the coun­cil has a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity we can’t fix it on our own, we need the com­mu­nity and stake­hold­ers to be on board.’’

Chin said coun­cil was in the process of pre­par­ing a strat­egy and he said ex­ten­sive public con­sul­ta­tion would hap­pen next year.

The Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment is open to public con­sul­ta­tion un­til April 28.

En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Nick Smith says the Na­tional Pol­icy State­ment for Fresh­wa­ter Man­age­ment could cost $2 bil­lion.

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