New Zealand’s lakes and rivers are in a bleak state, and the latest report from the Ministry for the Environment about the state of freshwater ecosystems, and warns that climate change will exacerbate existing threats.

Almost all New Zealand rivers running through urban and farming areas (between 95-99%) carry pollution above water quality guidelines, while most of the nation’s wetlands (90%) have been drained, and many freshwater fish species (76%) are threatened or at risk.

The Government has just announced a boost for clean waters, but we believe there are far more urgent and drastic measures required to restore our pristine waters.

Integrity demands the appointment of a Minister for Water to deliver a co-ordinated response between the Councils, the DHBs and the various Ministries who have a hand in (but are far from accountable for) water quality. There cannot be a repeat of Havlock. Drinking water safety should be a given but our infrastructure is sadly lacking.

We will work with the agriculture sector to find solutions which do not disadvantage their livelihoods but protect our precious waterways.

New Zealand deserves better than this shocking statistic.