Government Freshwater Management Document Labelled Deceptive

A government document on freshwater management has been termed confusing and inadequate by a New Zealand wide trout fishers organization.

In a submission to the Ministry for the Environment, the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) spokesman Rex Gibson of Christchurch said a ministry’s discussion document on freshwater management clearly ignored the crisis surrounding the health of the nation’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Of major concern was the specific wording in the document objectives that “freshwater management enables economic development and does not necessarily constrain economic activity.”

“In effect, this will result in regional councils being the judge, jury and executioner of environmental health. Based on past performances the Federation is highly sceptical of regional council’s ability and motivation to safeguard and restore the ailing health of freshwater in New Zealand.”

The specific wording in the document requiring that it “does not constrain economic activity” clearly ignored the original purpose of protecting the purity of the nation’s waterways and health of their natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

The Federation had no faith in “parish pump politics” as a mechanism to provide consistent and meaningful standards.

“It is clear that local economic concerns will over-ride strategies that affect the long term well-being of New Zealand’s waterways and their biological health.”

Rex Gibson said the crisis around freshwater mismanagement began 25 years ago at the same time massive increases in the intensification of dairy farming and other factors such as accelerated sediment runoff from forestry clear felling, had led to the present crisis of degraded, de-watered rivers. Canterbury had experienced a 500% increase in dairy farming with animal numbers for the region alone exploding up to 1.2 million cows.

“We can only conclude that the wording in the document seems dishonest writing designed to deceive people,” he added.


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