Water quality: is it worse, or has our awareness increased?

Lincoln University has released its?8th Public Perceptions of New Zealand’s Environment survey, the only one of its type in the world.

The study has canvassed people’s views about aspects of the environment for the past 16 years.

The worst managed environments were perceived to be rivers, lakes, and groundwater, largely on account of very negative perceptions concerning the management of farm effluent and runoff.

It is on the other hand the area that the Left and media have been beating the drums on. ?So what are the highlights of the report? ?

New Zealanders continue to consider the state and management of the New Zealand environment to be good, and better than in other developed countries; ?

The states of air, and native bush and forests were rated highest, while rivers and lakes, and marine fisheries were rated as being in the worst state; ?

Management of all components of the environment was considered to be adequate to good, with management of national parks rated the highest. Rivers and lakes, and groundwater were judged to be the worst managed parts of the environment; ?

Management of farm effluent and runoff continued to be perceived very negatively; ?

Farming is perceived to be one of the three main causes of damage to freshwater by over half the respondents and was also considered an important cause of damage to several other resources; and ? Water related issues were again rated as the most important environmental issue facing New Zealand, while Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change was again the most commonly identified global issue.

These are our?perceptions of these issues, which are not the same as reality.

One of the report’s authors, Ken Hughey, said respondents consistently considered fresh water to be in its worst state, and increasingly believe it was caused by farming.

“That is the single biggest stand-out increasing trend I think that we’ve seen in the survey and I think it matches the increasing interest over the course of those 16 or so years, in or about fresh water in New Zealand.”

One way or another, farming is facing an increasing amount of scrutiny. ?Political parties and the media are most certainly using them as whipping boys and girls.