Out of New Zealand we have an environmentalist, Greg Byrnes, general manager of the Te Kohaka o Tuhaltara conservation trust, challenging the New Zealand Environmental Minister Nick Smith to a fist fight. Greg has asked the Minister to meet him in Christchurch for a boxing match with “Queensberry Rules. The loser will have to “frolic in a local swimming hole the Greg says is no longer fit for swimming.
At the heart of the matter is the government’s new water pollution policy, which aims to classify 90% of the countries waterways as “swimmable”, by 2040. What “swimmable” actually means is a matter for debate. Critics argue that to reach its target the government appears to be shifting the goal posts. Previously, the measure for safe water no more than 260 E. coli units per 100 millilitres. The new guidelines safe, swimmable water can have up to 540 parts E. coli per 10 millilitres 80% of the time…in which a person has a 20% chance of picking up an infection.
It appears that by putting pen to paper the government can make the water cleaner. It is just not that easy.
The Minister appears to not want to respond to his challenger.