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Govt plays dirty trick in Mapua cleanup

Govt plays dirty trick in Mapua cleanup

Green MP Mike Ward said today the Government and the Environment Ministry must continue to support the cleanup of the Mapua contaminated site, no matter what the cost or the time involved.

Mr Ward, a former Nelson City Councillor, said that the Government's threat to withdraw $4 million in funding for the clean up operation undermined the democratic process.

"The Government is attempting to blackmail the environment with its threat to withdraw the cleanup money," said Mr Ward.

"If it pulls its $4 million contribution from the $6.5 million project, the Government will effectively ensure that the cleanup of one of the worst contaminated sites in New Zealand will not go ahead."

The Ministry for the Environment has threatened to withdraw its support if the operation did not commence by the end of the year. Appeals to the Environment Court over the cleaning process and resource consent conditions threaten to delay the project.

"As long as there are questions about the process the Government should share the concerns of the appellants and make sure the money is there. This site has been an environmental disaster for decades, if it takes a few more months to make sure the job is done right, the Ministry should support this," said Mr Ward.

"The Government is sending a clear message to the appellants that they risk sinking this vitally important cleanup if they raise their quite valid concerns.

"Everybody wants to see Mapua cleaned up, but it has to be done properly. I urge the Government to seriously rethink its position before it overrides the concerns of residents and environmental advocates," said Mr Ward.

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