Last year, the Ministry for the Environment reported that 61% of New Zealand’s rivers were unsafe for swimming. National’s response? Shut down the monitoring program:
The Government pulled the plug on cleaning up our dirty rivers so they are safe for swimming, and now it has given up on annual reports about the problem, the Green Party said today.
Two weeks ago the Government released its national bottom lines for water quality with changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. The bottom line for human health is secondary contact. This means levels of faecal contamination have to be at a level suitable for boating or wading, but not for swimming.
The Environment Minister’s answers to parliamentary questions from the Green Party have since confirmed the Government is dropping its annual reporting on how many monitored river swimming sites are safe for swimming. Last year 61 percent of monitored recreational sites on rivers were not clean enough to swim in.
The only reason National doesn’t want to publish these statistics is because they will show the continuing decline of our waterways and help drive calls for proper environmental standards. Which is exactly the opposite direction from the one they want to take us in.
This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. They didn’t want to hear about the social consequences of their government, so they shitcanned the Social Report. And they dumped comprehensive environmental reporting before reviving it in a crippled form, in order to censor bad news about the environment. Like a bad boss, their response to bad news is “I don’t want to know”, rather than “lets fix this”.