Polling Highlights Govt Swimming Against Current Of Public Opinion On Fresh Water – Greenpeace

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Greenpeace Aotearoa is challenging the Government’s mandate to remove freshwater protections, as independent polling reveals the vast majority of National Party voters are concerned about freshwater quality.

Greenpeace spokesperson Will Appelbe says, “Some people might have voted for a change in Government, but they did not vote to have New Zealand’s lakes and rivers turned into sewers or for drinking water to become more contaminated.”

The Horizon Research poll results come as submissions on the Government’s freshwater protection rollbacks, proposed through the ‘Resource Management (Freshwater and Other Matters) Amendment Bill’, closed on Sunday.

The proposed Bill will remove requirements for consenting applicants to show how they will put the health of freshwater and drinking water ahead of other uses of water, which they are currently required to do under Te Mana o Te Wai. It also removes regulations on intensive winter grazing, also known as mud farming.

“Everyone should feel safe to drink the water coming out of their kitchen tap, and everyone should be able to take a dip in their local river without getting sick,” says Appelbe.

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“Fresh water in Aotearoa is at breaking point. Two-thirds of New Zealand’s monitored river sites are too polluted to swim in, and once-safe drinking water is becoming increasingly contaminated with harmful levels of nitrate.

“By destroying NZ’s world-leading water protections, which were put in place to turn this situation around, Christoper Luxon is threatening to leave behind a legacy of destruction.”

The poll highlighted that out of all National Party voters surveyed, 82% said it was important to them to protect lakes, rivers, and drinking water, and 54% were explicitly concerned about nitrate contamination in drinking water.

Amongst all New Zealanders, 87% said it was important to protect drinking water, rivers and lakes, and 70% were concerned about nitrate contamination of drinking water.

The poll also delved into levels of support for the Government’s proposed rollbacks of freshwater protections contained in the latest Resource Management Act amendment bill. The rollbacks were opposed by 54% of New Zealanders, while only 21% supported them. The rest were either unsure or on the fence.

“Environmental regulations exist to protect the places and creatures we care about, and the things we depend on like clean drinking water,” says Appelbe. “But this Government is opting to throw them away to enable big polluting industries to make even more profit.”

“Make no mistake, the Government’s removal of freshwater policies will lead to more polluted lakes, more unswimmable rivers, more contaminated drinking water, and more extinction. Luxon must keep his hands off freshwater protections and scrap the resource management amendment bill now.”

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