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Call for public debate over waste management

18 August 2008

Call for public debate over waste management

Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman MP has challenged Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy to a public debate in Levin over the District Council's waste management practices.

"In local news media, Mr Duffy has called me 'ill-informed' and 'completely out of order' for raising the issue of a threat of sewage discharge into Lake Horowhenua," Dr Norman says.

"This is despite a letter to the council on July 28 from Horizons Regional Council saying 'the sewage treatment plant in Levin is being inundated by storm-water and may well overflow into Lake Horowhenua in this next short while'."

The lake, with an area of around 390ha, is nationally significant as a rare large water-body with surrounding wetlands in sand-dune country. It has been deeply valued as an eel fishery by the Muaupoko, Ngati Pareraukawa and Ngati Raukawa iwi.

In regard to a council landfill area between the lake and the coast, Mr Duffy was quoted in the Horowhenua Mail of August 14 saying, "we are of the view that there's not a problem" even after a Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report the week before saying inadequate monitoring caused pollution including continued leaching into groundwater and stormwater drains.

Says Dr Norman, "Mr Duffy was quoted in the Manawatu Standard on October 11 saying the potential impact of his council emptying 100,000 litres of sewage from Shannon's effluent ponds into the Mangaore Stream was 'negligible'.

"Mr Duffy seems to be in denial over his council's waste practices. The Shannon sewage was pumped into the Mangaore and then down the Manawatu River during last year's whitebait season, and wasn't properly screened. This meant, according to Horizons, that it included used sanitary items and condoms. The incident is now the subject of legal action," Dr Norman says.

"I am grateful that Mr Duffy has invited me to visit Levin again and see the council's work at the landfills and sewerage plant. It would be 'out of order' if these matters weren't fully and openly debated also and I would be happy to take part in doing so in public."


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