The tourism industry is welcoming today’s pledge by farming leaders to make all New Zealand rivers swimmable.
The pledge acknowledges that not all rivers are in the condition they should be and that farming has not always “got it right”.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts says protecting and improving New Zealand’s fresh water resources is something that every industry and every New Zealander should commit to.
“Like the agriculture sector, tourism has a direct interest in this issue. Clean, fresh rivers and lakes are essential to many of our most iconic tourism activities, including rafting, kayaking, jet boating and fishing. Healthy fresh water ecosystems are fundamental to supporting our natural landscapes, which are the main reason international visitors come here.”
Mr Roberts says TIA is a long-term member of the Land & Water Forum and is continually highlighting the need to do more to improve fresh water quality. Some positive steps have been taken recently, but along with other members of the Forum, TIA doesn’t believe they go far enough.
“Our Tourism Election Manifesto calls on the incoming Government to demonstrate a serious commitment to protecting the environment, recognising its importance to tourism. This includes a commitment to enhancing New Zealand’s fresh water resources.
“Post the election, we want to see the fresh water standards revised. TIA wants to be part of any future consultation to improve our lakes and waterways and we look forward to working alongside farming leaders, other sectors and government to achieve better outcomes.”
Mr Roberts says safe, clean, fresh water goes to the heart of kaitiakitanga – guardianship of the environment.
“Our country needs a clear vision and a long-term strategy for management of fresh water that reflects the values we hold as New Zealanders.
“We all have an active role to play in ensuring we leave the environment in a better state for future generations of Kiwis and our visitors.”