Timidity undermines Land and Water Forum Report when boldness required

Fish & Game is disappointed with the just-released Land and Water Forum report, saying it’s too timid and fails to provide answers on improving water quality.

The Forum’s report is in response to Government questions on how to stop further degradation of water quality, manage sediment and allocate nutrients.

Right: Toxic algae warning on the Selwyn River. 

The Forum recommends a range of actions, including establishing a Freshwater Commission, but has failed to reach consensus on a national framework for tackling nitrogen pollution.

Fish and Game Chief Executive Martin Taylor says it is disappointing the Forum’s report fails to reach consensus on a national framework for nitrogen allocation.

“This is unacceptable and highlights the divisions among Forum members, particularly the schisms between dairy farmers who want to protect their right to pollute and other land users,” he says. 

Martin Taylor says the Forum’s failure highlights the inadequacy of such collaborative processes.

“Fish & Game had high hopes for the Forum but resigned once it became clear that for some Forum members, collaboration meant Fish & Game compromising over its statutory responsibilities.”

 “After nine years, the Forum’s progress on such a vital and important issue is frankly not good enough,” Mr Taylor says.

“In 2009 when the Forum was established, its chair expressed concern about poor water quality, saying the issue need to be urgently addressed. 

“Nine years later, the problem is even worse, despite the Forum making hundreds of recommendations.

“It has been too timid and avoided the hard issues it is supposed to be there to tackle.”