Everyone deserves rivers they can swim in and fresh, clean drinking water that won’t make them sick. But to get there we need local and central government making strong plans to protect our water for generations to come.

Submissions on the Otago Regional Council’s Policy Statement have just closed. The Regional Policy Statement is a contains the guidelines that underpin the eventual plans and rules that the council will make for how to care for water across the Otago region. 

Together with over 1300 people like you, we made a submission calling on the Otago Regional Council to prioritise the health of water in this policy statement. This is the first council to put together these policies – which will set the tone for the whole rest of the country.

We’re calling for the Otago Regional Council to:

  • Put te mana o te wai first, so that all other objectives in the Regional Policy Statement are informed by the priority to care for water and keep it healthy
  • Commit to phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and lowering cow stocking rates – two things that are incompatible with protecting te mana o te wai
  • Tackle the climate crisis by lowering cow stocking rates and phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.
  • Consider cumulative effects of pollution such as intensive dairying and too much synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, rather than simply in each individual catchment. What happens upstream affects people, plants and animals downstream. 
  • Act according to the national plan, which identifies limits based on environmental impacts. In order to do this, councils must phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.
  • Apply the precautionary principle to freshwater management. Intensive dairying and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser have long-term effects on water, climate and human health. With emerging research showing links between nitrate contamination from intensive dairying in drinking water and health effects like bowel cancer, the Council must act now to protect the health of our communities.
  • Invest in regenerative organic farming that works with nature, not against it, to help mitigate the climate crisis and prevent water degradation.

You can read our full submission here.

Dairy cows
PETITION: Ban synthetic nitrogen fertiliser

Sign on now to call on the New Zealand Govt to ban chemical nitrogen fertiliser.

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