The New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) investigated the protection of rivers in New Zealand and set out their analysis and conclusions in a paper released today.
Protecting New Zealand’s Rivers puts forward a number of proposals for improving river protection. Some key conclusions are –
- We need a system to permanently protect the best of our rivers.
- A government agency should be given the responsibility to protect rivers.
- The balance between use, development and protection of rivers needs to be corrected by increasing the emphasis upon protection.
- Our rivers are under increasing pressure from development and intensive agriculture – the water take has almost doubled in the past 10 years and at the same time water quality has fallen. Freshwater surveys show that many places are not safe to swim.
- If steps are not taken to protect our best rivers we will lose them.
The NZCA provided a copy of their paper directly to the Minister of Conservation for her consideration.
The NZCA is an independent conservation body and Protecting New Zealand’s Rivers was prepared independently of DOC.