The newly appointed National Party spokesman for the Environment Scott Simpson recent claim the previous National-led government’s efforts had led to improved river water quality standards has been clobbered.
Andi Cockroft of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Assns., of New Zealand (CORANZ) described Scott Simpson’s claims as “twisted political spin.”
“It’s a twisted political spin from the party that more than any in living history has destroyed so much natural habitat,” he said. “From highly polluted streams to rivers with little or no flow. From poisoned and silent forests to oil exploration in National Parks.”
National’s Environment spokesperson Scott Simpson said he welcomed news that the efforts of New Zealanders alongside the previous Government to improve our freshwater quality were proving effective.
“A new report from Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) released yesterday shows that for all river water quality parameters monitored over a 10 year period, more sites were improving than deteriorating,” he said.
But the report has been criticised by forthright Massey scientist Dr Mike Joy who was reported as saying “it’s an example of trying desperately to make it sound better than it really is.”
Scott Simpson claimed the report showed that the previous National Government’s focus on nationwide water quality standards were a step in the right direction.
“National is a party of practical environmentalists, focused on striking a balance between responsible economic growth and managing our environment,” he said.
His comments followed National’s new leader Simon Bridges claiming on a Newshub on March 3, that his and his party’s record on the environment was strong.
But others supported CORANZ Andi Cockroft’s contention that National’s claims were “twisted political Spin.”
NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) president Graham Carter said the claims were hypocritical.
“After the debacle over recent years by the National Party regarding intensified dairying increases, irrigation increases and burying their heads in the sand over water quality National’s Scott Simpson has the audacity to make such false claims.”
Graham Carter said National had done little if anything to improve water quality and instead gave it away free to foreign exploiters.
Manawatu environmentalist and NZFFA life member Ken Sims said National’s claims completely lacked credibility in view of its performance as the previous government.
“The real issue is these things are being led and orchestrated by regional councils. They are the ones who run the LAWA site so its credibility is suspect. It’s self-justifying smokescreen.”
Ken Sims said regional councils had been largely captured by farming interests as shown by the Horizons’ Council comprising 80% farming links.
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