Another major stocktake has painted a grim picture of New Zealand's freshwater environment, showing that nitrogen levels are rising and three-quarters of monitored native fish species are nearing extinction.
The 100-page report, published today by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, has been described as "damning" by the country's largest independent environmental organisation, which is calling for a dramatic reduction in cow numbers.
The report, measuring a range of indicators including water quality and quantity, and the welfare of biodiversity, confirmed that urban waterways were the most polluted, but declining trends in pastoral areas were just as concerning.
The trends around nitrogen, E. Coli, and biodiversity are dismal. And while river degradation is a long-term problem, the present government has done nothing to prevent it. Instead, they've done the opposite, promoting irrigation while deposing the elected Environment Canterbury and replacing it with a dictatorship (and now a "guided democracy") to ensure that Canterbury's farmers can keep on sucking the rivers dry and their cows can keep on shitting. Oh, they're promising "standards" - pathetically weak ones, which won't apply for 30 years. Which shows their level of "commitment".
We can not allow our lakes and rivers to be polluted like this. The government needs to clean them up: reduce both water use and farm effluent to sustainable levels. And if this government won't do it, we should elect one that will.