Water crusader Mike Joy wading into NZ's freshwater woes in new role at IGPS

A prominent freshwater ecologist who has drawn fire for his blunt commentary about the state of our rivers and lakes has swapped universities and plans to attack the problem from a new angle.

Dr Mike Joy, IGPS Senior Researcher

Dr Mike Joy, recently presented Universities New Zealand's inaugural Critic and Conscience of Society Award, is leaving Massey University to join Victoria University's Institute for Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS).

Joy told the Herald his new role, which he starts next month, will involve no teaching and less scientific work, allowing him more time to study policy.

"What the IGPS does already is mostly around social areas, but in relation to government policy that works - or doesn't," he said.

"So I'm just going to take an environmental view on it, and hopefully I'll be able to get into details around what councils get up to, and where they fail."

He believed current freshwater policy wasn't serving the best science - or making a difference where it needed to.

"There are so many examples from around New Zealand where policy says one thing, but we see another thing happening in reality."

Joy was also concerned about the self-reporting nature of councils and government around freshwater - and the potential for spin.

"There's no oversight on them, so I want to be part of that in my same critic and conscience role - but have more time to do it."

Health measures of New Zealand's lakes and rivers vary.

This article first appeared at nzherald.co.nz