Tukituki needs attention

By Victoria White

6 comments
Tukituki River.
Tukituki River.

Hawke's Bay's Tukituki River has been identified by the Green Party as one of 10 "precious and loved rivers" they would work to clean and protect if elected into government next year.

In her keynote speech at the Green Party AGM yesterday, leader Metiria Turei unveiled the 10 rivers campaign, which would see MPs touring each identified river, looking at threatening factors and community solutions.

Tukituki National MP Craig Foss said it was good to have the Greens supporting the Hawke's Bay Regional Council plan change for the lower Tukituki, which was a crucial part of the Ruataniwha Storage Scheme.

"The wastewater plants in Waipukurau and Waipawa must, must be sorted," he said.

"It is simply not good enough nor acceptable in 2016 for sewage to overflow into the Tukituki from modern treatment plants."

The other rivers included in the campaign were the Waikato, the Tarawera and the Ruamahanga.

The Green Party would work to limit the amount of pollution going into rivers, put a moratorium on new dairy conversions, support land-based sewage solutions, put filters on stormwater drains, and plant and fence land around waterways. They would also put a price on the commercial use of water and use that for water restoration projects by hapu and communities.

"We will work with iwi and communities who are already champions for these rivers and help build even more support through a Swimmable not Wadeable rivers petition," Ms Turei said. "Swimmability" was a tighter new standard that Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith said Government was consulting on, as well as new national rules on fencing to keep stock out of rivers and lakes.

Under the current Government, the first National Policy Statement on Fresh Water was introduced in 2011 and the standards framework in 2014, Mr Smith said. The Government had increased investment in river and lake clean-up from $29 million, spent between 2000 and 2008 under the Labour government, to $115 million between 2008 and 2015 and had committed a further $100 million in Budget 2016.

Ms Turei said that amount was a drop in the bucket of what was needed to make rivers safe for swimming.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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