Irrigation New Zealand is calling on whoever forms the next government after September 20’s election to join with it to develop a national water strategy for the country.
The results from the Colmar Brunton survey reinforces that all kiwis care deeply about New Zealand.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says “we believe so strongly that kiwis care about waterways that we’re starting a movement, where the vision is clear – we want all new Zealanders to do their bit to look after rivers, lakes and beaches and you can find out more at thevisionisclear.co.nz”
The nation-wide Colmar Brunton poll was conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand in December.
It found that pollution of rivers and lakes is worrying New Zealanders more than any other issue.
People were asked how concerned they were about a range of issues, including the cost of living, health system, child poverty and water pollution.
Pollution of rivers and lakes was the top concern, with 82% saying they are extremely or very concerned about the issue. Only 4% said they were not that concerned.
Dairy has an important role to play, as about 15% of New Zealand’s streams run through dairy farms.
“And dairy farmers have been doing their bit, with 97% of waterways on a dairy farm fenced off from stock, and significant work to put in riparian margins and wetlands. Farmers over the last ten years have also been significantly investing in effluent management systems that work with the land and DairyNZ continues to invest millions of dollars into research, science and technology that will look after our waterways, says Mackle.
“Claims that intensified farming contributes to water quality declines are both accurate and misleading. The reality is that all types of land use contribute to water quality – and that farming, whether it’s vegetables, fruit, beef, sheep, dairy, deer or even wine – must all work together to make sure waterways are protected.
“The most polluted rivers actually run through urban centers, and this is where the public can do their bit too.
“Farmers, industry and businesses who don’t prioritise looking after waterways, should be held accountable” says Mackle.