1 NEWS Reporter
Canterbury land, water and health experts have come together to call for greater action on the region's worsening water quality.
It comes after policy announcements from government parties this week, which critics say don't hold the answers.
"Canterbury has got these really high levels of water-borne illnesses and the nitrate levels are going up," concerned local resident Mike Glover told 1 NEWS.
For years the nitrogen levels in much of Canterbury's water have posed a health risk to pregnant mothers and new-borns.
"It's got to the point where they're handing out flyers to doctors to warn them about pregnant women with nitrate in their well. It just doesn't seem like New Zealand," Mr Glover said.
This week the Labour Party announced irrigation schemes would be among those paying royalties for water if it becomes the government.
Local farmers say the move will be devastating.
"The productivity of this farm has lifted significantly since we put water on here. It (Labour's policy) would be make or break for this business," said farmer David Clarke.
National's plan to sink $44 million into cleaning up toxic waterways has also been criticised, with Environment Canterbury saying it falls short by hundreds of millions of dollars in the Selwyn District alone.
Experts believe it will take many years, possibly even decades, to turn around Canterbury's water issues.
A man is on the run after escaping custody at an Auckland court today.
Joshua Ian Smith, 23, fled from Manukau District Court around 12pm.
Police say Mr Smith is very tall, at approximately 6ft 4”, with a medium build and clean shaven. At the time he fled, he was wearing a black hoody, white shoes and navy track pants.
He is currently facing charges of wilful damage and breaching home detention conditions.
Counties Manukau Police are currently searching the area for him.
Police say he should not be approached by members of the public but any sightings should be reported to 111.