A landmark report on the state of the environment paints a disturbing picture and highlights the need for a private member’s bill which aims to reinforce the role of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP and Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.
The Environment Aotearoa 2015 report places much of its focus on the quality of fresh water, and found rivers in agricultural and urban areas had reduced water clarity and aquatic insect life, and higher levels of nutrients and E.coli bacteria.
“This report reveals the damaging impact increasing dairy cattle numbers and nitrogen fertiliser use is having on the state of our water” says Meka Whaitiri.
“It also shows the necessity for my private members bill which reinforces the role of Government’s environmental protection agency.
“What this bill does is place protection of New Zealand’s natural environment right at the heart of the law governing the EPA” says Meka Whaitiri.
The Environmental Protection Authority (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill ensures that protecting, maintaining and enhancing the environment is explicitly stated as one of the Environmental Protection Authority’s goals.
“Today in the House, Nick Smith refused to take any responsibility for the decline in water quality under his watch. The reality is this government has allowed private interests to limit environmental protection efforts, and this latest report shows their lack of any real strategy is having a detrimental effect on our water” says Meka Whaitiri.
“Kiwis are sick of seeing their rivers contaminated and spoiled by a lax approach to resource management, and a government that continues to ignore calls for our poor water quality to be seriously addressed. This Bill will reinforce the role of the EPA which is one of the cornerstones of conservation in Aotearoa – and will hopefully assist in preventing such damning environmental report cards in future,” Meka Whaitiri says.