One of the country's leading environmental educators says local and central government should completely revise their approach to environmental issues.
Professor Wayne Cartwright, who lectures at Massey University, has told a National Environment conference in Hastings that current agricultural and industrial practices are unsustainable.
He says a great deal of what's being done on farms is severely degrading many of the ecosystems in streams, rivers and lakes.
Dr Cartwright says most environmental policy is based on a dangerously inadequate economic model, which adheres to the premise that food production will continue to increase.
He says the model doesn't recognise or address the root causes of unsustainability.