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Ed Sheeran

Water policy leaves door open for polluters

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Environmental lobby group Choose Clean Water says the failure to give a clear steer on nitrogen in the new Action for Healthy Waterways policy opens the gates for more pollution.

Spokesperson Marnie Prickett says medical professionals and the government’s own science and technical advisory group had recommended a limit on dissolved organic nitrogen, but it was left out of the national policy statement release yesterday.

Nitrates, which build up in water systems through runoff from fertilisers or stock urine, pose a threat to human health.

"We've been calling for this really clear, unequivocal bottom line because we know when there are grey areas when there are gaps in policy, that's when polluters exploit policy. They make the confusion in the policy work to their advantage and they can put more nitrogen into our environment," Ms Prickett says.

She says the inclusion of Te Mana o te Wai in the policy and the mechanisms for iwi co-governance are positive steps towards finding durable solutions.

Meanwhile, the Government’s back down on nitrate restriction has been welcomed in one dairy farming powerhouse.

Taranaki Regional Council chair David MacLeod says the strict nutrient limits initially proposed would have added $100,000 in cost for up to a third of the region’s farms.

It also declined an initial proposal to impose a blanket 5m setback for all riparian fencing, meaning fences which conform to the councils existing riparian plan can remain.

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