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Stop rubbishing rivers

Stop rubbishing rivers

Green media release 18-6-08

It is unacceptable to use creeks and rivers for farm chemical and household rubbish tips as is happening at Hinakura in South Wairarapa, according to the Green Party.

Party Co-Leader Russel Norman said research by his staff, with the help of a supportive ecologist, discovered rubbish spilling from a creek into the Pahaoa River which drains to Wairarapa’s east coast.

The waste was sourced to a large rubbish tip in the creek which Land Information New Zealand has advised is on property owned by a family trust of a South Wairarapa District Councillor. The tip is accessed by a farm road with the name of the councillor’s farm on the gate.

Items in the creek include an old television set, stoves, oil containers, paint tins, women’s shoes, plastic milk bottles, beer cans, cosmetics and sheep and cattle drench containers.
Many items of clothing and pieces of plastic are caught in branches, apparently after flooding. Some of the rubbish has made its way to the Pahaoa River itself.

Several items with the councillor’s family surname written on them were found in the creek, including plastic chemical containers.

“I don’t know who dumped this rubbish – it may not be the councillor herself and it may include people outside the councillor’s family,” Dr Norman says. “However there is no doubt she has connections to this disgusting dump and I’m calling on her to dissociate herself from it and make moves as a councillor to help clean it up.”

A link from the council’s website says under the Local Government Act 2002 territorial local authorities are responsible for waste and waste management. Also that under the Resource Management Act 1991, territorial local authorities and regional councils have the function of “controlling the use of land to prevent or mitigate adverse effects from the storage, use and disposal of hazardous substances”.

Another link from the council’s website to “Resource Management Act Freshwater Management’ says “… discharge of contaminants into any water, whether at the surface or underground, is prohibited unless it is allowed by a regional plan or resource consent”.

A South Wairarapa District Council sign downstream from the councillor’s farm starts: “Rubbish In, Rubbish Out. Please help reduce the impact of rubbish on our area…”

“This dump seems to precede the Resource Management Act judging by the age of some of the rubbish in it. But there appears to be new trash as well,” Dr Norman says.

“I realise this is still a fairly common practice by a minority of farmers around New Zealand. It is however illegal, and for the sake of our children – who may swim in these rivers – and for our clean, green brand - these old practices have to stop.”


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