19 May 2012

MPs want minimum standards for fresh water

9:12 pm on 19 May 2012

Labour Party MPs are urging the Government to implement new recommendations on minimum standards for waterways, wetlands and aquifers.

Land and Water Forum recommendations say local communities should set minimum standards for waterways in their areas.

Forum members represent 62 industrial, environmental and recreational groups, along with iwi and other organisations, has just issued its second report on improving freshwater management.

It says setting benchmarks for catchments, as well as limits on discharge and resource use, will maintain and improve water quality.

Forum chairperson, Alastair Bisley, says that will ensure all catchments can provide for fishing, recreation or food-gathering.

He says the report suggests regional councils work with their local communities to set the standards and ensure local buy-in.

The forum is still working on another report, looking into limits for freshwater resources, which is due to be given to the Government later this year.

After that, the Government says it may look at introducing new policies, but the Labour Party wants to see minimum standards adopted for waterways, wetlands and aquifers.

Labour's environment spokesperson, Grant Robertson, says robust national standards for freshwater are vital.

He says now that a blueprint is on the table, it's up to the Government to follow through with implementation.