Boating NZ



Forest & Bird is calling out the Government for backtracki­ng on crucial freshwater reforms. The proposal to allow mining, quarrying, landfills, and urban developmen­t to destroy wetlands was quietly released as a consultati­on called Managing our wetlands by the Ministry for the Environmen­t in early September.

“This proposal makes a mockery of attempts made to address the loss of wetlands and the degraded state of freshwater in New Zealand,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.

“Allowing further destructio­n of wetlands is also directly contrary to the Climate Change Commission’s advice.

“Wetlands are critically important – at storing carbon, reducing flood flows, and providing habitat for native species.”

Over 90% of wetlands in Aotearoa have been destroyed, with more continuing to be lost through poor compliance and bad resource management decisions.

“The new rules, which we only gained a year ago, are absolutely crucial in turning around the loss of wetlands in Aotearoa,” says Mr Hague.

Except in limited circumstan­ces, the National Environmen­t Standard on Freshwater Management made earthworks within or near a natural wetland a prohibited activity if those works are likely to drain the wetland.

But the new consultati­on, which closes on 27 October, proposes ‘additional consenting pathways’ for a range of industries giving them the ability to destroy wetlands.

The proposal could enable dumps to destroy wetlands, urban developmen­t to drain waterways, and hundreds of quarries around the country to bulldoze through fragile native ecosystems.

In addition to pathways for industry, the changes further dilute the definition of a natural wetland, leaving a path open for drainage, agricultur­al conversion and heavy grazing, says Forest & Bird. www.forestandb­

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