Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


NZ should be ashamed of its polluted waterways

22 July 2005

NZ should be ashamed of its polluted waterways

The appalling state of Otara Creek is just another example of how New Zealand's once-pristine waterways are being treated as a low priority by both local and central governments, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"The Government's own figures show that 95 per cent of our lowland rivers and waterways are not safe for swimming in or drinking from and yet cleaning up this massive problem seems to have been filed in the too hard basket," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Otara Creek is just another example of this and something New Zealand should be ashamed of."

The Green Party has been working to highlight the dire straits that New Zealand's waterways are in. Last month, it launched a "5% pure" campaign as part of its Environment Policy. The policy includes a number of incentives that would help to clean up waterways and prevent further pollution.

"Central Government's contribution should be to set National Environmental Standards for freshwater under the RMA.

"Then, in the case of Otara Creek, a catchment management plan from the Auckland Regional Council would provide a framework for clean up," Ms Fitzsimons says. "This needs to ensure industry does not discharge into streams and that storm water running off heavily trafficked roads is filtered.

"I would also like to see the council strengthen its policing of the polluters and follow this up with prosecutions as a deterrent to others.

"Some of the pollution problems stem from local residents dumping rubbish in the creek, but this is not surprising as it is difficult for the community to have pride in a stream that is so polluted."

"The Community Board has organised clean ups in the past. We need to ensure the community, and particularly schools, are involved, to build respect for waterways and a sense of pride in a clean stream.

"We just cannot continue to bury our heads in the silt in the hope that these problems will go away on their own. The solution requires a concerted effort from central and local government and the community," Ms Fitzsimons says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>





Featured InfoPages