Pure spin vs. pure water

Written By: - Date published: 1:34 pm, March 30th, 2016 - 27 comments
Categories: Conservation, sustainability, water - Tags: , ,

Bravo to those who are highlighting the issue of the state of our water:

Emotions run high on Parliament steps over freshwater standards

There were tears, there were chants, and a challenge was laid down to the Government.

A host of students marched on the Beehive to present a petition of 13,000 signatures to politicians, calling for all freshwater in New Zealand to be swimmable. ‘Wadeable’ and ‘boatable’ are the current standards for freshwater bodies around the country.

Green Party, Labour Party and Maori Party leaders and MPs greeted the protesters.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the Government’s bottom-line was “appalling”. “By the Government’s own reckoning, 61% of our monitored waterways are of ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ quality which means they are unsafe for swimming and should be avoided,” he said. “This acceptance of dirty water quality is the reason New Zealand’s young people have taken it upon themselves to lobby the Government for higher standards and action.” He said a Labour Government would set minimum swimmable standards.

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said it was “rubbish” that water pollution was too expensive to clean up.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell goes further than wanting freshwater to be swimmable. He wants all freshwater to be drinkable. “It should be should be drinkable as an element of sustaining giving kai (food),” he said. It was one of “three principles” the party have argued for, along with being able to swim in the water and to gather food. “In the end the sustenance of water that gives to every human being is worth spending any amount of money on.”

Our “100% Pure” brand is 100% spin.



27 comments on “Pure spin vs. pure water”

  1. Aught3 1

    I supported the swimmable river position by signing the petition (and love the Maori party position on drinkable, good stuff). The National party says that some rivers can’t be made swimmable due to native bird life and geothermal activity. That seems reasonable to me but what I would like to know is what proportion of the 62% currently below this standard that comment actually applies to. It being the National party I suspect it’s only a small proportion. Seems like a job for a journalist writing these articles to find out about.

    • Andre 1.1

      I used to spend a lot of time whitewater kayaking. Can’t think of a single instance of any waterway being fouled by native birdlife. The Lagoon in Palmerston North is disgusting, but that’s imported mallards. The only waterway made undrinkable by geothermal activity I can think of is the Whangaehu River, which starts at Ruapehu’s crater lake.

      • Aught3 1.1.1

        Actually, I’ve just seen that the 62% applies only to pathogen contamination so the geothermal concern is irrelevant.

    • esoteric pineapples 1.2

      There were literally millions of ducks and other waterfowl in New Zealand when Europeans first arrived but no one said anything about the water being fowl (scuse the pun) back then.

    • weka 1.3

      “The National party says that some rivers can’t be made swimmable due to native bird life and geothermal activity”

      How come?

  2. Magisterium 2

    My dad, born and bred Rotorua, told me that when he was a kid Lake Rotorua was as clean and clear as Lake Taupo. By the time he told me that, in the 80s, Lake Rotorua was already brown glop.

    • Tautuhi 2.1

      Evidently Lake Taupo has water quality problems in parts of the Lake these days?

    • Macro 2.2

      Lake Rotorua, and Lake Taupo , and all the inland lakes fed by streams and rivers passing through intensified dairy country are all contaminated by agricultural run-off. In the States – Lake Eire – more massive than all our lakes combined – is now undrinkable because of agricultural run-off. Some lake side cities have had to import drinking water because of algal blooms and toxins that cannot be filtered or treated.
      Either we begin to regulate farmers discharging their external costs onto the community (every dairy herd of 200 cows has the effluent discharge of a town of 3500 people. They can spray it into paddocks, where it sits for a time, but eventually it finds it way into the streams and rivers) – or we face increasingly polluted water ways.

  3. roy cartland 3

    Actually “drinkable” isn’t even the highest standard we should aim for. Adult humans are much more tolerant to nitrate levels than babies, who are more tolerant than fish. Get them clean enough for the original fish to come back, then we can start congratulating ourselves.

    • weka 3.1


      It’s a sad indictment of NZ as a society that we are now doing something about polluted rivers because we can’t swim in them. This has been going on for a very long time, why weren’t we concerned enough before?

  4. BM 4

    Giardia makes the drinkable part a bit unrealistic.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Yeah, like landing a robot on Mars using a sky-crane: it’s all about priorities. Yours are a little bit shit, and you have no excuse.

  5. TC 5

    Flavell takes the piss surely given the way
    His party keeps voting with national and supporting their flogging of assets.

    • Red delusion 5.1

      Correction selling assets to raise funds for new assets

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        Too funny: a wingnut who actually still pretends to believe the lies.

      • maui 5.1.2

        Such as?

      • saveNZ 5.1.3

        @Red delusion – don’t you mean…

        Correction selling vital assets like power, water and state houses cheap, to raise funds for new assets using corporate welfare like subsidised development for malls, convention centers, oil exploration, pollution, desert sheep bribes and casinos.

  6. Amanda Atkinson 6

    Listened to Nick Smiths dismissal of this issue last night and cringed, it just really did not feel right. I grew up on a farm in the 1970’s and 80’s that had a river down the back, where my little Sister and I, and all kids from our Local iwi spent the whole summer swimming together. I don’t know if that river is still swimmable or not, I havent been there for over 20 years, but if it isn’t, that would break my heart. Shame on you Nick Smith.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Cringing: the first stage in denial of personal responsibility.

      Don’t worry, you’ll be back to your weasel words against the Left soon enough.

    • Jones 6.2

      I can remember in the late 70s/early 80s, growing up in Masterton, the many creeks around used to be crystal clear and we’d go looking for freshwater crayfish and eels… and they were abundant.

      Went back about 5 years ago and I was appalled at the state of the creeks… brown and lifeless.

  7. Tautuhi 7

    Nick Smith aint up with the play on housing and is definitely not up with the play on water quality, he is an apologist for whom?

    • Jenny Kirk 7.1

      Good question Tautuhi ….. We know ShonKey is just for the 1% and of course he was parachuted into his place by his 1% mentors … but why don’t the rest of the Nat Cabinet who have lived most of their lives in NZ and presumably they, and their kids, have done the sorts of things most NZers have done including playing/swimming in freshwater lakes and rivers …. WHY aren’t they concerned about the real state of NZ’s freshwaters ? What is it that makes them so blind to the deterioration of these waterways ?

    • miravox 7.2

      Nick Smith:

      I do get quite annoyed with people that want to run down New Zealand’s brand in a domestic argument about improving water quality.

      He’s an apologist for his boss and other people who see NZ as a commodity.100% pure vs Pissy little domestic water quality issues. pfft.

      The fair trading act will be the next to be reviewed/dismantled.

  8. gsays 8

    I want to echo the bravo to the youth and others for their leadership, courage, tenacity and commitment shown in the petition and hikoi.
    The question is what do the rest of us do next?

    • maui 8.1

      Wait for globalisation and international trade to collapse and then we can get on with repairing waterways. Because right now authorities right from local council to Government are part of the problem and are assisting private industries and farmers to pollute.

      • gsays 8.1.1

        so rather than wait for globalisation to end, maybe we help it to it’s logical conclusion.
        vote act and join federated farmers perhaps?

  9. saveNZ 9

    +100 – Good post. Also water quality transcends politics. A person from the right is just as likely to see this water quality as a problem like those in the left. The idea that the Natz just manipulate the water statistics and refuse to do anything about it, is damaging to their voters.

    Obviously the main issue is why would you pretend you have better water quality than you have and then say you don’t think being able to swim in waterways of NZ due to pollution is a priority?

    The Natz seem to think convention centers are more important because they are for tourists and not locals, the government does not see that having local streams and rivers polluted is worth worrying about it, as long a few are kept safe for tourists.

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