Both urban and rural users must protect water quality
Fish & Game New Zealand agrees with Federated Farmers Otago President Simon Davies that we all want lakes and rivers to have the highest water quality.
"Urban pressures on waterways are causing severe environmental impacts," Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Taylor says.
For example, whether it is the shocking news that 800,000 litres of wastewater ended up in Lake Taupo or the Westland landfill flood disaster that has seen rubbish floated downstream and washing up about 300km along South Westland's pristine beaches.
"It is vital that regional councils act to make sure these events cannot happen again. It is unacceptable in modern New Zealand that this was allowed to happen."
Meanwhile, the Queenstown Lakes District Council has applied for resource consent that would allow discharge storm and untreated wastewater into the central lakes after high rainfall events.
"Dealing with wastewater is one of the core responsibilities of district councils. It is unacceptable for a district council to say it needs to keep the status quo, simply because it would be too expensive to upgrade infrastructure.
"Whether it be urban pressures or pressures caused by intensive agriculture, it is essential that regional councils take action to protect our waterways. All polluters must be held to the same standard.
"Infrastructure problems are only going to get worse with climate change pressure. Kiwis expect to be able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams - we simply can't have sewage pouring into to our waterways."