13 Nov 2015

Govt wants input on environmental issues

10:47 am on 13 November 2015

Environment Minister Nick Smith is encouraging farmers to have their say about what environmental issues the government should focus on.

Under the Environmental Reporting Act, which was passed in September, the government will release a report every six months on one of five areas, including air, freshwater, land, marine, atmosphere and climate.

Housing minister Nick Smith.

Environment Minister Nick Smith Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Mr Smith is calling for feedback on what should be looked at in more depth.

He said freshwater would be up first next year and consultation ends on 23 December.

"This is about the farming community becoming better informed and more engaged particularly around the challenges we face as a country over fresh water," Mr Smith said.

"Too often there's an argument as to, 'is the data that's there reliable'? And we end up having pretty infantile arguments around the quality of the data rather than getting on and addressing the issues.

"At the moment we've got regional councils collecting data around things like water quality around rivers and lakes, but the problem is that it's collected very inconsistantly. With the new Environment Reporting Act, we've got the powers to ensure it's done consistently.

"What we're wanting to do is get more reliable information so that there's less argy-bargy over the data and more focus on the areas where we need to clean up our game."

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