Francesco Scotti CC BY-SA 2.0

We want swimmable rivers

Waitara River

The Waitara River has been through everything from industrial discharges, wastewater leaks and dairy pollution. Several generations of the manawhenua Te Atiawa and other residents have fought industry and local councils to protect this river and the marine environment being impacted by pollution.

Tangata whenua have led the fight in an ongoing battle to protect kaimoana and the reef off the river mouth from sewage pollution.

They have also had to challenge the industrial waste dumped into tributaries of the Waitara. These industrial discharges are much reduced today, but sewage continues to affect the river.

The Friends of the Waitara River group have legally challenged Taranaki Regional Council over the sewage issue, but have had to pay huge legal fees to fight for the river. The river is also impacted by nutrients and sediment from dairy farming upstream.

What are your memories and stories about the Waitara river?

To make the Waitara river safe for swimming again, the Green Party will:

  • Upgrade and invest in sewerage systems that dispose sewage onto land rather than water, where appropriate.
  • Require as a minimum that all water bodies be safe for swimming in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, rather than the current ‘safe for wading and boating’ standard.
  • Develop national standards to limit the amount of pollution going into water.
  • Put a levy on pollution going into rivers. We’ll use this money to support sustainable land and water management programmes like freshwater habitat restoration.
  • Ensure Māori are recognised and supported in their role as kaitiaki of their taonga and tikanga.
  • Put a hold on all new conversions of land to dairy farms.
  • Require resource consents in cases where the proposed land use is more intensive than the current land use.
  • Introduce rules that require all farms to be fenced from rivers and creeks, and for riverbanks to be planted so that excess run-off is absorbed.

Read more about our solutions to the freshwater crisis



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