TOURISM INDUSTRY CAUTIONS GOVERNMENT TO IGNORE FRESHWATER CONCERNS AT OWN PERIL!
Tourism Export Council NZ (TECNZ) has submitted to the Clean Water consultation document and
is concerned that we are heading down a path where freshwater quality could lead to
reputational damage to our ‘clean green’ marketing promise we share with the world.
Our country’s freshwater policy must reflect the love and connection our people have with their
rivers, streams and lakes by putting in place meaningful limits and strong legal protection to
support the work of councils and communities.
Instead, the Clean Water consultation document, which indicates 90% of New Zealand’s rivers will
be swimmable by 2040, is a mass of smoke and mirrors which fails to address responsibility for
fresh water-ways pollution.
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) in its current form is
nothing more than a PR-stunt from Government who continue to ignore scientists and expert
opinion re the state of our freshwater. The NPS-FM does not address the serious problems facing
our waterways and, in fact, will make them worse.
To add insult to injury, as an amendment to the Resource Management Act (RMA), government
have craftily included “economic well-being and productive economic opportunities” criteria for
Regional Councils who make freshwater allocation and protection decisions. The changes will
effectively undermine environmental protection in the existing freshwater policy statement by
requiring “economic well-being and productive economic opportunities” to be given the same
status as the environment.
TECNZ (like TIA) were stunned to see that the tourism industry is not being perceived as one of
the industries that rely on fresh water quality in the economic criteria used to identify vulnerable
catchments for water bodies appropriate for applying for the Freshwater Improvement Fund. This
shows a disappointing lack of understanding of the importance of fresh water to the tourism
industry and how important the tourism industry is to the New Zealand economy.
CEO Lesley Immink adds “it’s incredible that Government is solely focused on protecting the
economic wealth of an industry sector that continues to pollute the environment. There is no
point of any mitigation measures if the root cause of waterway degradation is allowed to
continue at the rate the Government is encouraging.”
“Clean water is the essence of life. It’s vital for us every single day personally, and for us as a
country to be able to enjoy the benefits socially, culturally and economically. The people of New
Zealand are starting to take notice and it won’t be long before our international reputation is
damaged and we’ll have to suffer the consequences.”