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Concern Over NIWA Report


MEDIA STATEMENT


Concern Over NIWA Report

Hon Tariana Turia

Maori Party Co-Leader

Friday 26 August 2011

Co-leader of the Maori Party, Tariana Turia, has expressed concern about the conclusions of a recent study by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) which found the presence of toxicants in the sites and food species of a local iwi, could pose a risk to their health.

“The project – a collaborative study between NIWA and Te Arawa Lakes Trust – reported on the combined risk of food affected by a range of toxicants, including pesticides (agriculture) and metals (stormwater)” said Mrs Turia.

“It also revealed that geothermal activity was imparting high levels of metals such as mercury and arsenic to fish and shellfish caught in the area”.

“Mana whenua have always relied on traditional sources of kai –such as koura, watercress, tuna, trout –as a vital and cherished food source. Indeed, in the Waitangi Tribunal’s WAI 262 report, Ko Aotearoa Tenei, the importance of ‘taonga species’ as food sources, and medicines was highlighted”.

“Not only is the collection and consumption of these food sources part of our tikanga, but it is also relied upon in many households, as a way of maintaining a healthy, affordable diet”.

“The Maori Party has always advocated to remove GST from food, in order to help our families manage a balanced menu on limited income. But with this new report, what we see is even worse – supermarkets are charging the earth for kai on their shelves – and then even our normal, customary diet is compromised”.

“I will be talking with the Minister for the Environment about what response Government will be making to the NIWA research, to ensure our whanau are able to return to their traditional sources of kai without fear of contamination”.

ends


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