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NRT: National standards for pollution

Written By: - Date published: 4:30 pm, July 3rd, 2014 - 15 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, national, same old national, water - Tags:

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn.

Today the government announced the final version of its national standards for freshwater. They’re trying desperately to pretend that these will improve water quality, but nothing could be further from the truth. The standards have been panned by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, as they allow water quality to be further degraded from its already-polluter state. And as the Greens point out, their “bottom line” isn’t rivers that are safe to swim in, but ones which are safe for wading and boating, where skin contact won’t kill you (but accidental ingestion might). National are happy for rivers which we can’t swim in and which kill our pets, because they view our recreation and use as less important than farmers’ use of our rivers as open sewers for their cowshit.

I can’t think of a better example of how bad these “bottom lines” are than to point out that the toxic sewer of lake Waikare, where the water is blood-red with algae, and the fish and birds have disappeared, would meet National’s “standards”. Campbell Live found that it had a Nitrogen level of 5.4mg/L. The government’s bottom line is 6.9. According to the government, Lake Waikare is perfectly fine, nothing to see here, move along. And that sums up their attitude perfectly.

This is not a “balance” between the economy and the environment. It is destroying the environment for the profit of a few. And I’d like to see political parties making clear statements that these “bottom lines” will be improved, to outlaw pollution and make our rivers safe to swim in.

15 comments on “NRT: National standards for pollution”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Canary, meet coalmine.

    We’re fucked. It’s that simple. We must change our behaviour. There is no alternative.

  2. Jack 2

    At least this is a start, I am gobsmacked that we didn’t have a robust regime in place already.

    It makes me wonder what people in Council and Water Quality Institutions actually do, however not surprising seeing most rivers and harbours in NZ have been used for the removal of waste over the past 150 years.

    • McFlock 2.1

      they get kicked like ecanz when they piss off farmers.

    • Macro 2.2

      What we had was a “voluntary” standard – but even that was too hard for farmers and some rural regional authorities – farmers were crying boo hop they keep checking on us.
      This is an abysmal level of regulation and it will see our rivers and lakes even more polluted than they are already.
      Typical press have NO IDEA what these bastards in govt are pulling over the face of NZ and getting away with it
      This announcement is nothing more than a political stunt.

    • Tracey 2.3

      a start jack? We are already near the end and this is where our leadrs put te line?

  3. Ed 3

    From the nps freshwater 2014 final statement, it appeared to me that National were setting the “bottom line” nitrate level at 750 or 800 mg per cubic metre – where did the lower figure of 6.9% come from?

  4. Jenny 4

    Maybe Labour could campaign on an Emissions Trading Scheme for water. Or WETS.

    Under this scheme the polluters are not required to cut back, if they want to pollute they just pay a fee and then they can continue to legally pour effluent into any waterway of their choosing as much as they can afford. To keep costs down and make it fair on the polluters they could trade with each other, if one pours more pollution here, he can buy credit from some other polluter who hasn’t polluted as much over there. Maybe down the track when National comes back into government they can get the taxpayer to take over the payments?

    Meanwhile as more and more pollution pours into our water ways under both schemes, both Labour and National will have grand debates in parliament over whose Pollution Trading scheme is best. But both joining together to condemn the Greens if they ever dare scrapping the WETS, and suggest we legislate to make it illegal to pollute our water ways.

  5. Foreign waka 5

    Ed, from the released National standard. 750-800 mg per cubic meter is for lakes whereas 6.8% Median -9.8% annually is for rivers. This means that the % can fluctuate as long as it evens on a spreadsheet to 9.8% out. So in other words no problems for the farmer having but some heavy fertilizer on the ground and heavy weather comes in. The problem with that is, that 10mg is the maximum contaminate level after which serious health effects take place that can include death in very young children.

    The negative health effects are well known the world over and we seem to be content to “contain” the harm to humans in order to grow the herds of animals by providing feed that has been encouraged by using more and more fertilizer. Nitrate is not the only contaminate in the water. Add chlorine and fluoride and water becomes more and more a health hazard.
    There is no need to add any of these chemicals, but we cant have the truth go in the way of a good yarn.

    web page water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/nitrate.cfm

  6. marsman 6

    National’s Standards for Pollution.

  7. philj 7

    What about the fish and children swimming in ##it? This is a PR disaster for dairy farmers in NZ. What do you expect from Corporate NZ Inc!

  8. Jrobin 8

    I notice that information about nitrogenous fertilisers such as Urea and DAP which leach into waterways and which also make soil biologically sterile, is seldom included in relation to pollution of waterways. There is a pretence tht the nitrogen is just a byproduct of cows going about their normal business. Cows fed on high nitrogen feed get rid of this into urine, but they can be fed differently on low input, low stocking rate regimes. This cuts down the pollution and makes the cows healthier and live longer. It is not inevitable that we poison our soils, animals and water by using products produced by oil companies. Biologically active soils are also an enormous and effective carbon sink. This natural cycle is ruined by spreading chemical nitrogen on soils.This should be factored in to our response to climate change. Sustainable farming makes sense on all levels but is a threat to the 1% so is being suppressed and pilloried. Makes you wonder, do the ultra wealthy not have children?

    • Macro 8.1

      ” Makes you wonder, do the ultra wealthy not have children?”

      As they would sell their own grandmother to make a quick buck – they sure as hell aren’t going to be worrying about their kids or grandkids.

      • Jenny 8.1.1

        They say the definition of a capitalist is someone who would sell the rope used to hang him. I think that they are actually plaiting it and knotting it as well.

    • Macro 8.2

      And everything you say above! There are farmers who are responsible and farm sustainably and develop their soils and their animals health rather than kill them. I’m fortunate to be able to buy my milk from one of these farmers – and the quality has to be experienced to be believed. I hate to have to buy anything else.

  9. Molly 9

    Despite the PAUP (Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan) having absolutely no teeth when it comes to preventing stock entering or fouling our waterways – ie. no testing of waterways, no requirement to fence, no penalties – farmers are offered Auckland Council grants to do the fencing anyway.

    “The Waterways Protection Fund supports landowners to prevent stock from accessing streams. However, applications may only be from selected catchments in a single year – this year applications were sought from landowners in the Papakura and Ngakaroa Stream catchments.”

    This came through on a Local Board email. Can’t find on Auckland Council website, or by Google, but guessing those in the know will be getting their fences part paid for by ratepayers even though they are not required to fence.

    Funny, how the carrot always comes into play for farmers – and the stick is always used for everyone else?

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