Dr Jacqueline Rowarth disagrees with a recent survey that suggests water quality is the most pressing issue for Kiwis.

A nationwide poll commissioned by Fish & Game in December last year found that over 80 per cent of New Zealanders are concerned with the quality of our waterways.

Rowarth told The Country's Jamie Mackay she believed Fish & Game may have been selective in reporting the data.

"In fact their survey showed there was no statistical difference between water and cost of living and health systems ... people were concerned about all three."

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Rowarth pointed out another survey conducted by the Ministry for the Environment which found climate change and water worries were ranked well below hospitals, housing and reducing waste.

"Improving water quality ... only 11 per cent of people were concerned about it ... so, I think we're doing pretty well."

"These are big issues for New Zealand, that Fish & Game, with all the profile they're getting, is actually distorting some of the information. And I think it's to the detriment of New Zealand. Not just the farmers."

Rowarth would like to see more reports about the good work being done to improve the state of New Zealand's waterways.

"Let's work on the positives."

Listen below: