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$11.6 million clean up plan for NZ’s most polluted lake

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for the Environment

25 August 2011

$11.6 million clean up plan for NZ’s most polluted lake

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is to be cleaned up with a $11.6 million plan involving Government, Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, Fonterra, Selwyn District Council, Lincoln University and the local community, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today at Ngāti Moki Marae.

“Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is New Zealand’s most polluted lake and a co-ordinated cleanup is overdue. This plan involves changes to the Water Conservation Order, millions of dollars to fund clean up work, changes to farm practices in the lake’s catchments, riparian planting and relationship agreements to keep the work programme on track,” Dr Smith said.

“I have approved amendments to the Lake Ellesmere Water Conservation Order that changes the period the lake can be opened to encourage fish migration, requires stronger protection of the lake’s outstanding features, and officially recognises the dual Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere name. These changes are to be gazetted today and take effect on 22 September 2011.

“$11.6 million is being committed to clean up the lake made up of contributions of $6.1 million from the Government, $3.5 million from Environment Canterbury, $1.3 million from Fonterra, $500,000 from Ngāi Tahu and the balance from the Selwyn District Council, Waihora Ellesmere Trust and Lincoln University. There will also be a substantial commitment to the clean up from local volunteers.

“This is the most significant fresh water clean up project New Zealand has undertaken because of the severity of the pollution and the size of the lake. It has taken 50 years for it to get into this mess and it will take a long-term commitment to put it right. The significance of today is that Ngāi Tahu, farmers, community representatives, local, regional and central government, as well as New Zealand’s largest company, are committed to working together to drive the changes needed to reduce pollutants entering the lake and put it on the road to recovery.

“This collaboration is a credit to Ngāi Tahu, Fonterra, Environment Canterbury and its Commissioners and I look forward to all parties working with the Government to restore this important lake.”

ENDS

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