Greenpeace nitrates research proves need for strong freshwater regulation

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party is welcoming the release of an interactive map which enables people to monitor nitrate levels in their drinking water.

“The research released today shows just how disastrous the new Government’s plan to roll back freshwater protections would be, particularly for rural communities,” says Green Party MP, Lan Pham.

“Everyone should be able to swim in and take kai from clean, healthy rivers and drink water without fear of becoming sick.

“But right now the health of our rivers, lakes and aquifers is declining.

“Waterways are burdened with nitrate pollution from intensified agriculture, sedimentation from activities such as forestry and urban subdivision, and irrigators taking too much water from rivers and aquifers.

“Many people, especially in rural communities, might be unaware of how much they’re being exposed to hazardous levels of nitrate.

“Following decades of advocacy by the Greens, environmental organisations and iwi and hāpu, in 2020 the Government finally created National Environmental Standards for Freshwater and strengthened the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management.

“For the first time, clear standards were in place to limit nitrate pollution – but now the government wants to tear them up.

“Replacing environmental protections to appease agribusiness would be disastrous for the state of freshwater in Aotearoa.

“Intensive farming, including the use of synthetic fertilisers, poor land use controls on earthworks for urban subdivision and poor stormwater management continue to be major causes of water pollution.

“The Green Party will continue to push the government to phase out synthetic fertiliser use, implement the intensive winter grazing rules, and increase support for regenerative organic farming practices to reduce nutrient pollution and sediment run-off,” says Lan Pham.

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