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Green plan would help restore Hutt River / Te Awakairangi

22 August 2011

Green plan would help restore Hutt River / Te Awakairangi

The Hutt River would benefit from a new plan to make our rivers and lakes clean enough to swim in again, Green Party Hutt South Candidate Holly Walker said today.

“The Hutt River is often unsafe for swimming during the summer months due to toxic algal growth,” Ms Walker said.

“The situation is about to get worse with the approval of Greater Wellington's consent to take an extra 17 million litres a day out of the river while the Kaitoke Weir is upgraded.

“If the Green Party’s newly announced plan for clean rivers and lakes had been in place it is highly unlikely that that consent would have been granted.

“But there is hope yet for the Hutt River. The Green Party's plan to clean up our rivers and lakes would help to ensure that flows return to what they were after the Kaitoke upgrade is completed.”

The plan, launched by Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman on Sunday, includes three solutions: 1) set clean water standards; 2) introduce a fair price for irrigation water and; 3) support water clean-up initiatives.

“Voluntary measures – like those championed by the new Friends of the Hutt River group – will help restore the Hutt River, but they need to be backed by standards,” said Ms Walker.

“The Green Party will implement strong standards for clean water consistent nationwide rules which limit the amount of water that can be taken from our waterways and limit the amount of pollution flowing in.

“Introducing a fair price for irrigation water will incentivise efficient use and will generate revenue to fund water clean-up initiatives such as a nationwide stream fencing and planting programme.

“Our kids have a birthright to swim and play in the Hutt River, as I did, but that right is steadily being eroded. Clean rivers around the country are part of the Green Party's vision of a clean, green economy that works for everyone," Ms Walker said.

The plan to clean up New Zealand’s rivers and lakes is the second of the three major Green Party election priorities. The others are bringing 100,000 children out of poverty, and creating thousands of clean, green jobs.

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