Last month Nick Smith announced with great fanfare a target for 90% of New Zealand's rivers to be swimmable by 2040. Except it turned out that most rivers were in fact excluded, and his idea of "swimmable" was literally bullshit. Now it seems that his bullshit standard ignored advice from the Land and Water Forum - and Forest & Bird has pulled out of it in response:
Forest & Bird have pulled out of the Land and Water Forum in protest against the government's new "timid" freshwater standards.
The forum gives more than 50 stakeholders, including industry groups, non-governmental organisatins (NGOs), iwi, scientists and others a chance agree on recommendations to be made to government.
However, Forest & Bird said those recommendations had been largely ignored in the government's plan to make 90 percent of rivers swimmable by 2040.
Forest & Bird said the recommendations had buy-in from all the relevant stakeholders and incorporated the best scientific advice, but what the government had come up with was very different.
I'm surprised its taken them so long - because it is clear that the government regards "collaborative processes" such as the Land and Water Forum simply as a way of suborning and silencing critics while increasing "social licence" to pollute. Fish and Game bailed years ago because of this, and with Forest & Bird's departure, the Environmental Defence Society is now the only environmental voice among a sea of polluters on the Forum. The quicker they quit, the sooner the sham ends, and the sooner we can stop pretending that there is anything to be gained by collaborating with polluters.