Greens MP agrees with damning doco exposing NZ's fresh water 'pollution crisis'

On the release date of an international documentary that claims to expose New Zealand's fresh water pollution crisis, Green Party MP Eugenie Sage has said the deteriorating health of our rivers is being dealt with "not nearly enough" urgency.

Speaking to Hilary Barry on TVNZ 1's Breakfast today, Ms Sage would not go so far as to say that New Zealand's "clean green" image was fraudulent, but did say it had to become "real".

"We've seen with the increase of intensive agriculture, increasing water pollution, rivers that aren't swimmable, increasing nitrate in our aquifers, we can change that but we need to treat the issue with urgency," Ms Sage said.

"Seventy per cent of our exports depend on our our 'clean green' brand, our tourism industry does, we've got to make that image real, we've got to treat our water crisis with urgency."   

The comments come as international news network Al Jazeera will this morning release the first of a two part documentary, called Polluted Paradise, about what it describes as New Zealand's "fresh water crisis".

The documentary could reach an estimated audience of 40 million across the Arab world.

Polluted Paradise follows a similar documentary that debuted at the International Film Festival focusing on water quality issues in seven Canterbury rivers.

International news network Al Jazeera will this morning release the first of two-part documentary into NZ water – Polluted Paradise. Source: Breakfast



Video: 'Give me a break, this is a whitewash' – Winston Peters fires up over pension leak at explosive debate

The Winston Peters pension leak was the "elephant in the room" at the ASB finance leaders debate in Queenstown last night.

The issue was addressed before the beginning of the debate, with senior MPs speaking about the matter to a packed hall.

But the man at the centre of the controversy, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, called the investigation into his superannuation leak a "conspiracy" against his party in the weeks leading up to the election.

It follows the revelations that at least two government ministers and the PM's chief of staff knew about the overpayment. Source: 1 NEWS

"You think I'm going to be satisfied with a State Services investigation of their own malefices and misbehaviour? Give me a break," Mr Peters said.

"This is a whitewash. We're gonna have an independent person look into this

"Who knows what the law is. Not the kind of cavalier attitude the head of state services seems to have."

The NZ First leader was overpaid superannuation by MSD between 2010 and 2017. Source: 1 NEWS

The leaders of the two main parties will go head to head tonight in debate, on TVNZ 1 from 7pm.

The NZ First leader called it a "conspiracy" against his party. Source: 1 NEWS

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Watch: 'Chinese sounding name argument' hits a nerve in finance spokesmen's debate

The issue of foreigners owning houses in New Zealand had National's Steven Joyce and Labour's Grant Robertson sparring in last night's election debate between party finance spokesmen in Queenstown.

Mr Robertson asked what does New Zealand gain from someone who lives offshore and is never going to come here or live here.

"They're just speculating because we do not have any tax on capital gain," he said.

Mr Joyce said: "This is the old Chinese sounding name argument".

It was a reference to a saga in 2015 when the Labour Party released data that suggested overseas-based Chinese buyers were increasingly purchasing Auckland property.

Mr Robertson hit back, saying Mr Joyce was the one who introduced race into the debate.

"Did I say it's from any country? No I didn't. Don't throw that around," Mr Robertson told Mr Joyce.

Mr Joyce replied" "Well you said foreigners."

The spat raged on with Mr Robertson saying: "You're the one who introduced race, Steven. That's where this discussion gets into trouble when people introduce race into it."

ACT's David Seymour cooled things down, quipping: "Steven, I think you might have got a sore point there."

"I think I might have hit a sore point," Mr Joyce agreed.

Mr Joyce said the number of sales to people who live overseas, many of them Kiwis, is about three per cent.

Greens leader James Shaw said he would support a ban on foreign buyers of Kiwi houses, because we need to ensure there isn't massive inflation as a result of money flowing into housing from offshore.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said a capital gains tax will have no effect whatsoever because foreigners are "buying a bolt hole" and don't even put a tenant in, at a time of massive demand for housing and no supply.

ACT leader David Seymour said the most successful country in the world at banning foreign buyers is North Korea, "and the fact of that matter is that's what you've got to do".

National's Steven Joyce hit back when Labour's Grant Robertson argued foreigners are speculating on NZ houses because there's no capital gains tax. Source: 1 NEWS