Last week the DomPost ran an excellent series on the state of policy-making governing New Zealand’s rivers. Important reading for those interested in protecting our rivers here in Hawke’s Bay.

Here are the titles with links if you missed them:

Pollution ‘choking’ New Zealand Rivers (16 June)
Dirty rivers ‘threaten NZ’s brand’ (17 June)
League table proposal for NZ’s rivers (18 June)

Back in September 2008 a board of inquiry began taking submissions on a proposed National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. It tabled its report to Environment Minister Nick Smith this past January. Mr. Smith says he’s waiting for further advice from the Land and Water Forum, another advisory group, which isn’t due until August.

When it comes to sacking regional councils, Mr Smith seems fast off the mark! When it comes to developing effective water protection policies, slow motion seems to be the order of the day.

New Zealand is the only OECD country with no legislated process for national environmental reporting. Minister Smith, according to the DomPost says: “I think we should be able to rank every one of New Zealand’s river systems from the cleanest to the dirtiest.”

I agree … let’s get on with it!

Tom Belford

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