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.”
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