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Kiwis Show Concern for Freshwater Environment

NEW ZEALAND - Kiwis believe water pollution and water related issues are the most important environmental issues facing New Zealand, according to the fifth biennial survey of Public Perceptions of New Zealands Environment released this month.

The survey, which has been conducted every two years since 2000 by Lincoln University, tests New Zealanders’ perceptions of all the main resources and in 2008 looked more specifically at the freshwater environment.

“Dr. Ken Hughey’s research has provided valuable insights into the public’s changing perceptions of our environment since 2000, and continues to highlight Kiwis’ growing dissatisfaction with the quality and management of our finite freshwater resources,” said Bryce Johnson, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Fish & game Council.

“Over half of those surveyed now believe that the management of farm effluent and runoff was ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’, and this rating is worse than perceptions recorded in 2006. Farming is perceived as the main cause of damage to fresh waters.”

“A hardly surprising result that is also consistently reported in environmental surveys, the latest being MfE’s 2007 State of the Environment report that noted, ‘…water quality continues to decline in areas dominated by agricultural and urban land use.’

“Further, a significant majority of people opposed the proposal that more water should be taken from rivers and streams for irrigation and hydro electric generation if it has a negative impact on freshwater fisheries.”

“Proponents of intensified agriculture can be in no doubt that the New Zealand public will not tolerate ongoing degradation of their freshwater resources. Most New Zealanders insist that agriculture must be environmentally sustainable, and reject environmentally unsustainable agricultural practices.”

“Agriculture has to take responsibility for avoiding, remedying or mitigating is adverse environmental effects, as required by law.”

the Fish Site Editor

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