Water Pollution Remains Major Concern For New Zealanders
- Richie Cosgrove
Pollution of our rivers and lakes is one of New Zealanders’ top two concerns, according to public opinion poll results.
The findings are contained in a Colmar Brunton poll of a thousand people conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand.
The survey asked people how concerned they were about a range of issues, including the cost of living, health system, child poverty and water pollution.
Three quarters – 75 percent - of those surveyed said they were extremely or very concerned about pollution of lakes and rivers. Only five percent said they were not that concerned.
The only issue people were more worried about was the cost of living, with 77 percent saying they were extremely or very concerned.
The health system was third with 74 percent, followed by child poverty 68 percent, housing 65 percent, education 63 percent and climate change 61 percent.
Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor says the Colmar Brunton findings show how worried the public is about water pollution.
“These results are consistent with what we saw in the election and show the depth of feeling kiwis have about the loss of what they considered their birth right – clean rivers, lakes and streams,” Martin Taylor says.
“It highlights the urgency with which the government needs to make substantial changes to address the problem,” Mr Taylor says.
“People are fed up by pollution – particular by intensive corporate dairying – which has robbed them of their ability to swim in their favourite rivers and lakes.
“Fonterra and Dairy NZ should take note of these results. They show the tens of millions of dollars they’ve spent on slick PR to try and change people’s minds isn’t working,” he says.
Martin Taylor says the state of our polluted waterways is hurting New Zealand’s international image.
“Our clean, green reputation gives us a valuable international marketing advantage, but we have been squandering it.
“Losing our clean, green image means less tourism earnings and lower prices for our sheep and beef exports and other agriculture products. Why should all New Zealand farmers miss out on good returns because of dirty dairying?” he says.
Martin Taylor says fixing the problem is not going to be easy.
“This is a major challenge to put right. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and hundreds of millions of dollars to reverse corporate dairy farming’s environmental impact,” he says.
“But at least the new government now knows the public are on its side and support it tackling this major issue.”
Note: You can download a graphic of the poll here, the poll was conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand by Colmar Brunton from 22-29 November 2017. It surveyed a thousand New Zealanders and the results are nationally representative for age, gender and region. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.