Clean water is a simple issue | The Jackal

15 May 2017

Clean water is a simple issue

Yesterday, Stuff reported:
People need to understand that clean water is a complex issue, says Bill English

The prime minister says people have "high expectations" for clean waterways, but need to understand the complexity of the problem.

Bill English made the comments during a visit to meet constituents in Manawatu.

English said there was "quite high community expectations" for standards of waterways, but there were difficult long-term issues to be dealt with.

I really don’t accept Bill English's excuses. The issue of polluted waterways isn’t really that complex at all. If you pollute waterways they will be polluted. Simple!

The problems arise because there are so many polluters making vast amounts of money from environmental degradation and no real foresight or proper financial investment by the government. Certainly not enough to undo any of the damage the many decades of polluting our waterways has caused.

English said people also needed to be aware of the "size and complexity" of the task.

It’s about as complex as having less cows shitting in the water. Of course initiatives like proper fencing away from waterways can actually save farmers some cash. The loss of a cow worth $1500 in a waterway is equivalent to the cost of fencing approximately 650 metres of stream for instance.

However apart from a bit of farmer’s initiative and a small amount of token government and council funding, riparian planting isn’t anywhere near what it needs to be. So how complex exactly is planting some trees Bill English?

It is a topical issue for Manawatu, with Horizons Regional Council recently found to not be enforcing water quality regulations properly.

But English played down the recent Environment Court case. "I'm not surprised that regional councils run into some roadblocks. There are others round the country and most of them have found this pretty challenging."

English said he still had faith in councils to do their jobs. "It is important [regional councils] get the support."

The government throwing their hands up in the air and going "the issue is too complex" is just a cop-out. National passing the financial buck onto council's simply isn't going to work.

Unfortunately National has no intention of properly funding councils so they're able to address our polluted waterways. Likewise, councils have little interest in protecting the environment or enforcing the law because most councillors have vested interests in farming.

The sad truth of the matter is that while National is in power we will see little if any real change in terms of our polluted waterways. That’s because they’re the farmer’s party and won’t do anything to upset their core constituency.

So it’s not really a complex issue at all. If you want cleaner waterways that you can swim in without fear of getting sick, that you can go fishing in and actually catch some fish and that doesn’t scare our tourists away with green sludge and bad smells…don’t vote for National. It’s as simple as that.