For the first time, under National Science Challenge auspices, NZ’s waterways have been assessed against ‘minimum acceptable’ contaminant standards carefully, scientifically set in the current National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM).
Four contaminants were assessed in detail – E.coli, nitrogen and phosphorous, and sediment.
The analysis, conducted by Landcare Research and NIWA, indicates that substantial reductions in these contaminants are required in almost every region of NZ to meet the ‘minimum acceptable’ standards.
Here in Hawke’s Bay, the E.coli load in our waterways would need to be reduced 55%, nitrogen by 22%, sediment by 20% and phosphorous by 6%. Excessive nitrogen and of course E.coli represent the greatest risk to human health. Then there’s the affected ecosystems.
But not to worry!
Our new Government is determined to reduce the threat. By replacing the NPS-FM – that is, by weakening the standards and their implementation!
Here’s the National/ACT Agreement pledge:
“Replace the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 to allow district councils more flexibility in how they meet environmental limits and seek advice on how to exempt councils from obligations under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 as soon as practicable.
“More flexibility” … uh huh. If you don’t want to fuss with meeting the standards, essential to river and human health, just lower them.
The HB Regional Council was beginning its task to implement the NPS-FM standards across all HB catchments. This work will effectively go ‘on hold’ until the Government issues new guidance.
Meantime, have a nice swim!