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Mountain clubs quit Land and Water Forum

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/03/2017

Federated Mountain Clubs is the latest organisation to quit the Land and Water Forum just days after Forest and Bird left.

Fish and Game pulled out last year.

Federated Mountain Clubs, which has about 20,000 members, has written to Environment Minister Nick Smith telling him it is leaving, RNZ reports.

The forum has more than 50 members whose representatives meet to discuss land and water issues, and make recommendations to the government.

They include industry groups, iwi representatives, NGOs, scientists and recreational organisations.

The Greens say the departures show the government's clean water policy is a failure.

"The forum is supposed to represent all those with an interest in water in this country, from industry to environmentalists," said water spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty.

"But the balance is tipped too much in favour of industry and the ministry cherry picks its recommendations to suit his pro-pollution agenda."

The government's goal is to make 90 per cent of waterways swimmable by 2040, but it has been accused of lowering the clean water threshold to achieve that.

When Forest and Bird left the forum it said the new standards for swimmability excluded 90 per cent of rivers and streams.

Environment Minister Nick Smith disputed that and emphasised how robust the forum was.

He listed Federation Mountain Clubs as evidence of that.

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