I submitted to Taranaki Regional Council last week on two issues. Firstly I requested TRC consider live streaming their meetings to make them more accessible to the public. Secondly I asked about Item 5: ‘Developing freshwater quality limits for Taranaki’. I did not mis-interpret or need to reread. The message is very clear and not from NIWA.
The Macroinvertebrate Community Index (MCI) is a measure of the overall sensitivity of the macroinvertebrate community to the effects of organic pollution. It has been used for many years in the State of the Environment monitoring reports in Taranaki and across New Zealand. Biological water quality grades of 100 plus are good, anything below 100 ranges from fair to poor.
I expressed concern at Taranaki Regional Council recommendations for setting lower water quality standards of 88-100 and 76-89 in the middle to lower reaches. Is the “new normal”?
The Ministry for Environment, the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Auditor-General all acknowledge issues with our freshwater quality.
The first and foremost recommendation of NIWA was to wait for national freshwater quality limits to be set. However Mr Bedford, Mr Walker and Mr Horton appear not to want these imposed on them.
These are not some “hypothetical national standard”. These are objectives set by national working parties to determine freshwater quality limits across New Zealand. These indicate the maximum amount of resource use available to ensure the environment is maintained. Now ask the question why TRC might want to write their own.