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


DOC takes charge of riverbed clean-up from Fox landfill

Hon Eugenie Sage

Minister of Conservation
Minita mō Te Papa Atawhai

Associate Minister for the Environment
Minita Tuarua mō Te Taiao


19 June 2019



The Minister of Conservation and Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage says that the Department of Conservation (DOC) will replace Westland District Council (WDC) as the lead agency co-ordinating the clean-up of the riverbed and coast downstream of the Council’s Fox River landfill.

Last month the Government provided Westland District Council with $300,000 in funding to assist with the clean-up costs from its flood damaged landfill.

DOC has also provided $130,000 of in-kind support. Despite this the Council ceased work on the rubbish clean-up on 31 May and indicated that it lacks the resources or capacity to do more work.

“Since the floods, I’m proud of the practical role DOC has played in cleaning up rubbish from the landfill alongside the Council. With DOC now taking charge of the on-going clean-up efforts, the Department will do as much as it can to remove rubbish from the riverbed and prevent it ending up on beaches, and in the sea,” says Eugenie Sage.

“It is Volunteer Week this week and I want to acknowledge the impressive work volunteers have done to help remove rubbish alongside DOC staff and Council contractors.”

“The Fox River flows through Westland/Tai Poutini National Park. It and the Cook River, nearby wetlands and the coast have high natural values which deserve protection. Tourism businesses in the area rely on the South Westland’s spectacular landscapes and New Zealand’s clean-green reputation. Piles of rubbish in the riverbed also means the reality risks not matching the image,” Eugenie Sage said.

“A 50 km stretch of coastline was cleared of obvious rubbish by a major volunteer effort before the end of May. The focus for the clean-up has now shifted to the Fox and Cook riverbeds, over a distance of approximately 21 km. and around 1,620ha.

“A challenging issue now is that debris dams and log jams have trapped a significant amount of rubbish along the river. Heavy machinery is required to remove these log jams, and there is significant amount of people time required to remove the rubbish from them. Anyone interested in volunteering to help, can register online at

“Landfills and their management are the responsibility of local authorities. DOC is taking the lead in the clean-up because of the internationally significant values of the national park and the Fox River area. It is not a precedent for councils to relinquish their role.

“The responsibility for the actual landfill and ensuring no more rubbish can be eroded into the Fox River remains with Westland District Council. The West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) will be working with the District Council on this.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>


Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>


Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>


Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>


Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>




InfoPages News Channels