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Further steps to improve NZ's fresh water

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Prime Minister's announcement of nearly $8 million in funding for cleaning up polluted water bodies underscores the Government's progress in collaborative freshwater management, Environment Minister Nick Smith said today.

"New Zealand generally has clean rivers and lakes, but poor management over many years in a number of lowland catchments needs to be addressed. The Manawatu is New Zealand's most polluted river, and the Wairarapa lakes, Waituna and Wainono Lagoons are among our most contaminated from excessive nutrients. These are nationally-significant water bodies where the resources to clean them up are beyond the capacity of local councils."

"Government is prepared to help where rules have been put in place to prevent ongoing pollution and where there is the local commitment and co-operation to restore the river, lake or lagoon. The Government contribution of nearly $8 million represents 21 percent of the total $38 million being invested in cleaning up these four water bodies."

"These clean-ups are part of the Government's broader Fresh Start for Fresh Water programme of work to improve New Zealand's freshwater management, involving the Land and Water Forum and the Iwi Leaders Group. Other work includes a new National Policy Statement under the Resource Management Act on freshwater that requires councils to set limits on pollution and water extraction and a fund to support sustainable irrigation projects."

"The Fresh Start for Fresh Water fund is enabling a nationwide increased investment in cleaning up rivers and lakes. Programmes preceding these four new clean-ups include Lake Taupo, the Rotorua Lakes, the Waikato River and Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora."

"The commitments from this Government for our first four years on these clean-ups total $101.3 million and compares to $17.7 million in the preceding four years. This is a more than fivefold increase and indicates the importance the Government puts on improving fresh water. The Government's approach of cross sector collaboration, greater involvement of iwi, clearer rules and increased funding is delivering real gains in improving New Zealand's freshwater management," Dr Smith says.

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