The Green Party is calling on the Government to improve environmental standards so every New Zealander has access to clean, healthy drinking water.
“We know what needs to be done to ensure every New Zealander has access to safe drinking now and in future. We need action now to stop increasing nitrate pollution of drinking water sources,” says Eugenie Sage, Green spokesperson for the environment.
The Green Party’s call comes two days before a consultation on proposed drinking water standards closes for submissions.
“The first thing the Government needs to do is begin the phase out of synthetic fertiliser and the intensive grazing it facilitates.
“The expansion and industrialisation of dairy farming in New Zealand has been fuelled in large part by the use of synthetic fertiliser. Under the Government’s current proposals, little will change, meaning that large industrialised farms can continue polluting the rivers, aquifers and drinking water we enjoy and rely on.
“New drinking water standards must also include a stronger limit on the amount of dissolved organic nitrogen allowed in our freshwater. The current limit is far too high to address what we know is a risk to human health. The limit needs to come down from 11.3 mg/litre to less than 1 mg/ litre in line with what scientists suggest is safe.
“As well as strengthening protections, the Greens also want to see drinking water standards apply to supplies that serve small numbers of people.
“Right now, water supplies serving fewer than 500 people do not have to comply with national environmental standards. This needs to change so that no matter where you live, the water you rely on is guaranteed to be healthy and safe,” says Eugenie Sage.
The Government’s consultation closes on Sunday 6 March. The Green Party has prepared a submission guide to support people to have their say.