Fish and Game backs Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

  • 13/12/2018
  • Richie Cosgrove

Fish and Game is supporting the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s call for better ways of assessing and looking after freshwater quality.

The Commissioner Simon Upton has just released a report on the current tool – Overseer - which is used to assess nutrient losses from farms and how they pollute rivers, lakes and streams.

The report warns that Overseer has important shortcomings which are undermining confidence in its use as a regulatory tool.

It recommends the government address these issues, overhaul the present system and open it to public scrutiny.

Fish and Game New Zealand’s chief executive Martin Taylor is backing the commissioner’s report, saying Overseer is not up to it.

“Overseer’s inability to do its job has been known for a long time and yet little has been done to fix it.  The commissioner’s report finally confronts this issue and Fish and Game backs his call for action to fix it,” Mr Taylor says.

Martin Taylor says fixing the problem is now urgent.

“Our rivers, lakes and streams are in a bad state and as the commissioner’s report points out, this is a serious environmental issue. 

“Based on this, we must take a highly precautionary approach to stop further unknown damage – that means urgently introducing hard environmental bottom lines as soon as possible,” Mr Taylor says.

“That means some farmers will need to change what they are doing.

“It also means regulators like regional and district councils must stop giving polluters an easy ride but to do their job properly, they need both the proper tools and the determination to use them.

“Failing to act on such an important issue is just going to lumber the next generation with yet another burden to go with poor water quality,” he says.

“They deserve better, and so do today’s New Zealanders who want to swim, fish and gather food from their local streams, rivers and lakes.” 

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