Economist Gareth Morgan is set to bankroll a competition to find the country's cleanest river off the back of his bid to rid New Zealand of pet cats.
The Morgan Foundation will issue free water-testing kits to any town that requests one.
Dr Morgan told the Listener that the aim was for communities to compete for the prestige of having the least polluted waterway. Further details are yet to be announced.
He described the competition as another strand in his campaign to encourage New Zealanders to think of the environment as an asset of potentially immense economic value.
Dr Morgan's business partner Andrew Gawith will run the competition. He has worked with Mr Gawith since setting up the Infometrics economic consultancy in 1982.
As of March 31, he and Mr Gawith will be relieved of any involvement in Gareth Morgan Investments, which will be wholly run by new owner Kiwibank.
"I told Andrew there's only so much golf he can play," Dr Morgan told the Listener." So he said yes."
Dr Morgan's controversial Cats To Go campaign calls for people to stop buying new cats and not replace pets when they die. On the campaign's website, he termed the animals sadists and natural-born killers that destroy native wildlife. His other projects include ridding the Antipodes Islands of mice and eradicating predators from Stewart Island.