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Rotorua lakes just the tip of the iceberg say Gree

26 March 2008

Rotorua lakes just the tip of the iceberg say Greens

The $72 million committed to help clean up Rotorua's lakes is just a fraction of the money needed to reverse the effects of agriculture and urban pollution on lakes and rivers around the country, Green Party Environment Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"It's like mopping the floor while the bath is still overflowing. It seems futile to clean up the toxic legacy we inherited in Rotorua, without doing something about the toxic legacy we ourselves are leaving all over the country," Nandor says.

"The massive expansion and intensification of dairy farming that we are seeing right now is leaving a time bomb for our children, and Government and local authorities are doing little to curtail it.

"Are we going to applaud the big profits to be made from dairy conversion, and then ask taxpayers to cough up the costs in a few decades time just as we are now doing in Rotorua?

"There are hundreds of waterways around the country in urgent need of attention but we have been waiting since 2004 for the Sustainable Water Plan of Action to move beyond the realm of fantasy, not forgetting that Labour's 2005 election promise was to make all our rivers swimmable.

"In the meantime, are Government pockets so deep they can throw $72 million at every river, lake and catchment that can no longer safely be fished or swum in? We must take some pre-emptive action to protect our waterways.

"Just this morning a report on water quality in the Hauraki Gulf says that agricultural and urban activities have lead to excessive heavy metal and other pollutants in that body or water in which a third of New Zealand's population swim, fish and play.

"The Tukituki River in the Hawkes Bay has been off limits all summer due to toxic blooms. The Otaki River in Wellington region has suffered the same fate, as has the Avon River and Lake Forsythe in the South Island to name but a few of our heavily polluted waterways.

"The health of our waterways is about more than just cleaning up tourist sites."


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