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STEPS Lobbies Mt Albert Candidates

PRESS RELEASE – MEOLA CREEK, MT ALBERT, AUCKLAND

STEPS Lobbies Mt Albert Candidates

24 October 2008

St Lukes Environmental Protection Society is asking Mt Albert candidates in the 2008 General Election to state their plans to deal with lack of sewerage infrastructure in Auckland, and the threats posed to Meola Creek – the largest catchment on the Auckland isthmus.

Currently Auckland City is making a decision on a Resource Consent application by Housing New Zealand (HNZC) to add another 22 units beside the creek. HNZC plan to move Meola Creek and build a concrete access way over it. In addition, they plan to fence off the existing creek bed behind a secure fence, and limit access for the public.

Meola Creek is an historic waterway running through the heart of the Mt Albert electorate, from Owairaka-Mt Albert to Te Tokaroa-Meola Reef and Waitemata Harbour. The creek and the reef play an important role in Maori oral history and tradition, and are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders.

However many studies show that the creek is highly polluted and a public health risk – especially around its headwaters on the slopes of Mt Albert. The creek itself and the estuary by Meola Reef are continually degraded by zinc contaminated stormwater, and sewage overflows which have already seriously reduced wild life in the creek and aquatic life in Waitemata Harbour beside Meola Reef.

“It seems that many government bodies are ignoring the plight of Meola Creek and other urban creeks in Auckland,” says Pat Prescott, STEPS chair person. “Maori women used to gather watercress here in the 1970s, yet now we are told the creek is too dangerous for our volunteers to plant its banks, or for schools to measure water quality.”

“We want more effective planning protection for the creek, and government support for the urgently needed new waste water interceptor by Watercare Services. We are also very disappointed that Housing Corp have not consulted iwi or local groups, and have ignored the objections of our Kura Kaupapa. At present we see little in the district plan to protect our last few creeks.”

“We think that leadership is needed from central government. Although we are working with Auckland City, Metrowater, ARC and Watercare Services, no one has overall responsibility. We need an integrated plan with some positive long-term actions to counter a century of neglect and damage. We would like to see central government as part of the solution, working with us to restore the creek. All we want is clean water in our creek.”

END

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