IRRAWADDY RIVER MUD
Environment minister Nick Smith was asked recently in Palmerston North why the Government was not aiming for swimmable waterways. He responded that that ‘‘I do not think a legal requirement for every water body in New Zealand to be swimmable is practical’’.
In saying so he abdicates his environmental responsibility.
Of course it isn’t practical with a weak, defeatist attitude like that, along with a strong bias to government’s corporate bedfellows in the dairying industry. Even Kiwi family farm dairy farmers generally abhor the corporate dairy structure and culture.
And why did government do a state takeover of the formerly democratically elected Environment Canterbury? Simply to expedite water concessions of the public’s water.
Not that it comes as any surprise. It was Environment Minister Smith just months ago, who along with cabinet colleague Amy Adams legislated a lowering of water standards for rivers from ‘‘swimmable’’ to ‘‘fit for wading and boating.’’ Now you could wade in a cesspool in fishing waders and most certainly you could boat.
Smith seems bereft of any environmental and ecological conscience.
Because an ecosystem approach is vital, Smith should be tackling the problem by having river quality rated directly relative to the health of aquatic invertebrate populations.
Tony Orman Marlborough