Fresh Water Rescue Plan gains momentum

A campaign for better water quality is continuing to gather support, with organisations representing half a million members and supporters now backing the recently launched Freshwater Rescue Plan.

The Freshwater Rescue Plan was launched in Wellington last month in reaction to the Government’s ‘Clean Water Package’. The Clean Water Package has been criticised by organisations for being “complicated, confusing, lacking urgency and weakening protection for freshwater ecosystems”. The Freshwater Rescue Plan provides an alternative approach that requires water quality reporting, a polluter pays system, and a long-term goal of prioritising a low-carbon economy for New Zealand.

Among its recommended steps, the Plan includes setting strict and enforceable water quality standards based on human health and ecosystems health limits, withdrawing public subsidies of irrigation schemes, supporting sustainable agricultural practices, and decreasing cow numbers.

Support has been boosted with eight new organisations giving their backing to the Plan. The new supporters are ActionStation, Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand (ECO), New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, New Zealand Recreation Association, Pure Advantage, Waitaha Executive Grandmothers Council, Whitewater New Zealand, and WWF-New Zealand.

The original supporters of the Freshwater Rescue Plan are Choose Clean Water, Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand Inc., Fish & Game New Zealand, Forest & Bird, Greenpeace New Zealand, OraTaiao – New Zealand Climate & Health Council, the Public Health Association, and the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand.

The Plan’s backers now include 16 organisations with collective support from approximately half a million people across the science, public health, tourism, recreation, community, and environmental sectors.

For more information

Related articles:

MfE, NIWA wade into clean water debate with fresh data

Environment Minister clarifies freshwater standards

Government announces $2bn plan to make NZ waterways ‘swimmable’ by 2040

‘Agency capture’ accusation prompts retort from MfE