Want a total backfire? Put Nick Smith on the job

Minister for Magic, Nick Smith waved his blue wand and wadeable rivers miraculously turned into ones you can swim in.

All it takes is a little fiddling with the standards.

This week Smith made a brave promise that 90 per cent of rivers would be swimmable by the year 2040.

On the surface an applaudable sentiment, a move in the right direction, but anyone who has been following the freshwater debate will see right through it.

Only a year ago the Environment Minister was saying that aiming for swimmable rivers was “impractical”.

So what changed to make it practical?

Over the summer there’s been a tipping point in public opinion.

Thanks to efforts by many environmental groups a majority of New Zealanders came to understand that dirty rivers were a serious problem – and industrial dairying is a major culprit.

How do you make the public an election promise about freshwater without actually doing anything to clean up the rivers? Change the standards.

National have turned into the Announcement party. ?Housing? ?To be delivered between 2018 and 2020. ?Clear rivers? ?2040. ?Pest-free New Zealand? ?2050.

When it comes to National and blue-green policies, they continue to fall into the same trap: ?they think the benefits are self-evident. ?”Look!”, the say. ?”We’re doing GREEN stuff!”. ?But there is more to it than that, and they come crashing down every time.

Kermadecs anyone?

How about the Denniston plateau?

Let’s face it. If you want an assured cock-up, let the blue-green Nats announce something with Nick Smith as the point man.


– NZ Herald