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Govt must clean up Wellington’s contaminated soil

Govt must clean up Wellington’s contaminated soil

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling on central government to come to the party and help Wellingtonians find out whether their properties are contaminated.

“We want the Government to make a firm commitment to help pay for testing of potentially contaminated properties in Wellington and elsewhere,” said Ms Kedgley, Green Health spokesperson.

“Anxious Hutt Valley homeowners living in areas converted from market gardens need immediate reassurances as to whether their properties pose a health risk to their families. They have an urgent right to know, and they shouldn’t have to wait two or more years for the Regional Council to get sufficient funding.”

Earlier this week, the Greens launched a national petition calling on the Government to acknowledge people have the right to know whether their properties are contaminated and to fund testing to determine the extent of contamination.

“We have lifted the lid on a national problem. The Government cannot expect inadequately funded Regional Councils or individual property owners to clean up a problem successive governments have created. They registered and permitted the use of highly toxic pesticides like DDT and allowed residential dwellings to be built on land that was heavily sprayed. They must take responsibility for the mess they have created as a result.”

Currently, the Wellington Regional Council has inadequate funding to identify potentially thousands of contaminated properties in the Wellington region. The Ministry for the Environment fund has only set aside about $1 million a year for supporting Regional Councils all around the country to identify contaminated sites.

“Given the probably widespread nature of contamination around urban areas and the cost of remediation, this is woefully inadequate. Cleaning up the Mapua site alone is costing more than $5 million. The Government needs to invest substantially more money in identifying and cleaning up contaminated sites around New Zealand.”

Ms Kedgley said present contamination concerns illustrated the urgent need to ensure similar contamination cannot happen in the future.

“The Government must withdraw registration of all pesticides that persist in the environment and develop a pesticides reduction plan to decrease the amount of pesticides used in agriculture.”

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