A freshwater scientist who worked on proposed amendments
to the Government's National Policy Statement for Freshwater
Management has hit back at criticisms of the proposed
Aspiring Environmental director Chris Arbuckle, who worked as
a senior adviser for Government on freshwater management,
said he was ''disappointed'' by critics of the proposed
amendments and said it showed they had ''missed the point''
of the policy statement.
Mr Arbuckle contacted Southern Rural Life following criticism
of the proposed amendments by freshwater scientists in last
The proposed amendments include the creation of a national
framework for freshwater management, setting bottom lines for
maintaining ecosystems and human health, the requirement for
councils to account for all water takes and contaminant
discharges, and recognition of the value of freshwater to
Some said the proposed limits were not strong enough and
would allow environmental decline of freshwater to continue.
However, Mr Arbuckle said policy was only effective if those
who had to implement it, understood it and were able to work
within the limits set.
While some of the policy allowed for misinterpretation, ''the
core of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater
Management is about maintenance and improvement''.
The policy gave communities the ability to control their
waterways as they saw fit, he said.
''Take Waituna, in Southland, for example. If you want that
to turn back to a stage of excellent water quality, you are
going to have to remove all the dairying,'' he said.
The policy statement allowed the community to make the
decision to do that if that was wanted, Mr Arbuckle said.
However, communities and land users had to be able to work
within the limits and under-stand what they meant to
day-to-day activities, he said.
''There are people within the bell-shaped curve of behaviour
that won't change, but the majority of people will change
behaviour if they are given the tools to do so,'' he said.