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Hard Work Starts On Contaminated Sites

21 May 2002

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today the Government's allocation of $3.2 million towards contaminated sites would lay the groundwork to tackle the serious problem.

"Both the Green Party and the Government are passionate about starting the hard work on contaminated sites. This Budget project will not clean up all our problem sites, but it will get us underway."

Ms Fitzsimons said the Green Party was happy that the Green budget initiative contributed to Government action in this area.

"The first priority will be cleaning up the Mapua site. Next on the list will be cleaning up other high priority sites such as the Tui mine.

"The Tui mine on Mt Te Aroha was abandoned when its owner left in the 1960s and has been leaking heavy minerals and acid into the Tui stream ever since. It is one of the greatest environmental disgraces on the Coromandel. It has been well publicised for more than 20 years to my knowledge, and at last the clean up will start."

Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that work would also start on creating a national register of contaminated sites.

"Some of this funding will go towards helping Regional Councils meet a consistent standard of information about contaminated sites in their region.

"This is a very important first step in creating a national register. Until a register is established, it is impossible to have good information about ecological and health risks, and potential clean-up costs.

"People living on, working on, or buying those pieces of sick land will stay in the dark. A national register of contaminated sites is absolutely essential, not only to publicly identify contaminated sites but to make sure that priority clean-ups are started."

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