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Get the **** out of our swimming and fishing spots

2 November 2008

Get the **** out of our swimming and fishing spots

The Green Party today released its plan to clean up New Zealand's rivers, lakes and aquifers.

Summer is approaching again and many New Zealanders are looking forward to going to their favourite swimming and fishing spots.

"But if this summer is anything like last summer, many of our rivers will be so full of toxic algal blooms, sewerage, and cow faeces they will be closed to swimming. And many beaches will be unsafe for swimming in the days after heavy rain due to faecal bacteria washed down our rivers," Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman says.

"And many of our best fishing rivers won't have any trout because of low flows and high pollution levels.

"Last summer, many rivers had very low flows because of excessive irrigation takes from rivers and aquifers, and hence the faecal bacteria were even less diluted.

"The faeces and toxic algae in our rivers, lakes and beaches also undermine our economic future by threatening our clean and green branding, tourism, and the long term sustainability of agriculture.

"The Green Party plan includes:

* Setting dates under the RMA by which regional councils are legally required clean up rivers so they are swimmable again. Currently there is no such requirement.

* Encouraging councils to require resource consents for conversion to dairy and set limits for nitrogen run off.

* Establishing a dedicated fund to support sustainable farming.

* Supporting disposal of sewerage to land rather than water, through an increased fund to communities that want to upgrade their sewerage schemes.

* Mandatory metering of irrigation takes and a charge per cubic metre for commercial water users to encourage more efficient usage.

* Enabling regional councils to refuse applications to take more water from catchments that are already fully allocated by allowing regional councils to impose a moratorium in at-risk catchments.

"Aotearoa New Zealand can once again be 100% pure but it requires us to stand up for this country against the polluters what want to turn our rivers into industrial drains," Dr Norman says. See the full policy at: http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/water

ENDS

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