24 Feb 2017

Scientists say Government has weakened water quality measures

From Morning Report, 7:13 am on 24 February 2017

The Government's pledge to boost water quality in lakes and rivers is being called a con by environmental activists.

Coes Ford on the Selwyn River in Canterbury

Coes Ford on the Selwyn River in Canterbury Photo: Fish & Game

Nick Smith has set out a long term goal of making 90 percent of rivers and lakes safe for swimming.

But part of the Environment Minister's policy is to change the definition of swimmable, and freshwater scientists are divided on what that will mean.

The Green Party Co-leader James Shaw has slammed the Government's weakened water quality measures.

He says the water announcement means rivers that were only good enough for wading and boating in will now be rated as good enough to swim in

But the Environment Minister, Nick Smith, says the government's new plan is practical and ambitious.

Dr Smith told Morning Report it will result in the country's water quality being better than any time since the Second World War.