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Billboard says more poo in rivers and in Govt’s water policy

Billboard says more poo in rivers and in Govt’s water policy

For immediate release

Freshwater campaigners say New Zealanders have noticed the poo in their rivers and in the Government’s new standards. They are sending that message to the Prime Minister via a 12-metre long crowd-funded billboard in downtown Wellington.

In the 48 hours following the Government’s announcement on their freshwater policy, 1,452, of New Zealanders from across the country raised the thousands of dollars needed to install the billboard. They are horrified that the new swimming standards move the goal posts and allow more faecal contamination in New Zealand’s rivers and lakes.

Freshwater campaign group Choose Clean Water say not only has the Government worsened swimming standards but is also allowing extremely high levels of nitrates into waterways that drive the algal blooms New Zealanders are seeing increasingly in their rivers and lakes.

“Prime Minister Bill English and Minister Nick Smith seem to think the public won’t notice that this new freshwater policy is a PR stunt,” says Choose Clean Water spokesperson, Marnie Prickett.

“The Government has made no real commitment to dealing with the country’s serious problem of water pollution and instead are trying to score points through tricks.”

“New Zealanders are practical. When we have a serious problem, we find solutions and take action so we aren’t fooled by the Government’s grandstanding. The public want an honest effort from the Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment to deal with New Zealand’s freshwater crisis.”

“First step, the Government must write legislation that prioritises the health of New Zealanders and their environment.”

The billboard was installed this morning on Manners Street in central Wellington and reads, “The Government thinks you won’t notice more poo in your water”.

It calls on the public to send the Prime Minister a message that New Zealand deserves safe freshwater, which they can do at the group’s website www.choosecleanwater.org.nz

“Unlike the Government, we are calling a spade a spade. This is about more poo and more wee contaminating freshwater making it unsafe for New Zealand’s people and wildlife,” says Prickett.

Laura O’Connell-Rapira, Director of Campaigns at ActionStation, an online campaign organisation with a membership of over 100,000 New Zealanders, says it has supported the billboard because their members want to see honesty and action from the Government on freshwater pollution.

“New Zealanders know their rivers and lakes are sick and are being polluted on a massive scale. We need standards that make it clear what is acceptable for our country not a policy that simply justifies the pollution that’s already happened and allows for worse.”

“The Government needs to cut the crap and get real on freshwater policy. New Zealand and New Zealanders deserve better.”


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