Verve Article - February 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Enjoying NZ at its best.

By the look of all the tanned faces I’ve seen on the streets of Newmarket and around the Epsom electorate this week, most people have enjoyed a bumper summer.

My family and I enjoyed a week tenting on the Tauwharanui Peninsula, where we swam in crystal clear water, alongside the fish of a marine reserve, and were woken by the abundant birds.  Frustratingly, a number of my fellow campers saw the famed takahe on bush walks, but it eluded me.

As Kiwis we’re proud of the quality of our environment. Like most New Zealanders, of all ages, I’m determined that we do what we can to preserve, and indeed improve, on that quality.

That’s why the National Government has placed an emphasis on making real progress on important environmental projects.  On fishing and the state of our marine environment, (a topic dear to the heart of many), we have committed to introducing two recreational fishing parks covering areas of the inner Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds.

In the past few years this Government has established record numbers of new marine reserves and passed new laws for managing activities in our Exclusive Economic Zone. Recreational fishing parks are the logical next step.

This is part of a wider reform of our marine protection legislation which reflects our ambition for New Zealand to be a world leader in the responsible use, management and conservation of our ocean environment.

A lot of people worry, meantime, about the effects of farm run-off into our waterways.  National has responded by committing to spend $100 million over 10 years to buy and retire selected areas of farmland next to important waterways.

We will also introduce a mandatory requirement to exclude dairy cattle from waterways by 1 July 2017, and will work with industry to exclude other cattle from waterways over time on intensively farmed lowland property.

This will create an environmental buffer that will help improve water quality, so that Kiwis can continue to enjoy our wonderful rivers, lakes and coastline.