Stats NZ survey shows water reforms have public support
New data released by Stats NZ shows that freshwater quality is New Zealanders' top environmental concern.
"Stats NZ New Zealand General Social Survey showed that freshwater quality is New Zealand's most significant environmental issue," Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Taylor says.
Over 80 per cent of Kiwis stated there was a problem with the state of New Zealand's rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and aquatic life.
Half of which (49.3 per cent) thought farming activities were the leading cause of the issue and the second most commonly stated cause was sewage and stormwater discharges (16.6 per cent).
"This Stats NZ survey reconfirms a recent nationwide poll conducted for Fish & Game by Colmar Brunton that showed 82 per cent of Kiwis are concerned about water quality".
The pollution of lakes and rivers has become the issue that Kiwis are most concerned. It has increased by seven per cent since the Colmar Brunton poll done just after the 2017 Parliament Election.
A significant Government report out in April found that, between 2013 and 2017, about 82 per cent of river length in pastoral farming areas wasn't safe for swimming.
"It's time we all acknowledge that some intensive agriculture businesses have been increasingly damaging our waterways for 20 years.
"This has been allowed to happen by regional councils who have failed to live up to their statutory requirements to protect the environment for future generations".
The Government's plan to halt the decline in water quality and improve rivers, lakes and streams will be announced in August, when a new freshwater National Policy Statement and a new National Environmental Standards will be released for consultation.
"This gives the Government a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle an issue Kiwis are deeply concerned about.
"Kiwis expect to be able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams. It's time we all work together to deliver better water quality for all New Zealanders."