web analytics

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?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • A charge on plastic bags – debunking some myths
    The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • National’s $1trillion property sandcastle
    The National government's failure to fix the housing crisis has seen the ballooning and unsustainable property market touch the $1 trillion mark, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. "Labour wants an economy that creates high wage work that is based ...
    1 day ago
  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 days ago
  • International embarrassment for NZ likely over National’s failure to protect Maui dolphin
    New Zealanders who care about Maui dolphin should prepare to feel embarrassed: the Government is about to be put to shame on the international stage for its lack of action to protect Maui’s dolphin. The International Whaling Commissions’ 66th Biennial ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    4 days ago
  • Why don’t we spend $1b to keep people out of jail, rather than spending it on keeping them in?
    Earlier this week, Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced the government’s ‘solution’ to our burgeoning prison population. It seems that most, if not all, of Bill English’s hard-won surplus is going to disappear into another round of prison-building.  That must be ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    6 days ago
  • PKE Ship Sent Packing – Not Too Soon
    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    6 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    6 days ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    1 week ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    1 week ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    1 week ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago