Ten dirty rivers?

At the Green party AGM Metiria Turei launched a new (sort of ) policy to target ten rivers for cleaning up.

Stuff: Green Party launches campaign to point out dirty rivers

A travelling campaign to highlight 10 major rivers in need of a clean up has been launched by the Green Party at its annual conference. 

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei unveiled the campaign during her keynote speech, saying the Government needed to lift its “wadable” standards. 

But while the campaign was new, the policy was not. Turei said it wasn’t just Green Party members that were being targeted, it was an issue “of enormous importance” to all New Zealanders. 

In what appears to also be doubling as a data-gathering exercise, a new Green Party website requires petitioners to register with email addresses. 

“The best hope for our rivers is that we change the Government. Today’s petition is an opportunity for New Zealanders to demand rivers clean enough to swim in. 

The 10 filthy rivers: 

  • Wairua (Northland)
  • Kaipatiki (Auckland)
  • Waikato
  • Tarawera (Bay of Plenty)
  • Tukituki (Hawkes Bay) 
  • Waitara (Taranaki) 
  • Ruamahanga (Wairarapa) 
  • Manawatu
  • Waikirikiri/Selwyn (Canterbury) 
  • Mataura (Southland)

The following day on Stuff/Taranaki Daily News: Green party looking to clean up quality of Taranaki’s Waitara river

The sewage-spill plagued Waitara river has made a list of 10 waterways around the country the Green Party wants cleaned up. 

Waitara has been plagued by sewage leaks this year, with three sewage discharges since February. 

In the Green Party’s campaign information it states the Waitara river is impacted by nutrients and sediment from dairy farming upstream. But its recent issue with sewage overflows haven’t gone unnoticed. 

“If you thought raw sewage going into rivers was a thing of the past, think again,” it says. 

“When the sewerage system at Waitara, north of New Plymouth in Taranaki, is overwhelmed by heavy rainfall, raw sewage spills into the river and ends up in the sea.”

However the following day, also from Taranaki Daily News: Green Party’s Waitara River claims slammed as baseless by council

Green Party claims that the Waitara River is so polluted it is unsafe for bathers have been described as “baseless” by councillors.

But the claims were refuted by the Taranaki Regional Council during a meeting of its consents and regulatory committee on Tuesday.

“The Green Party’s facts are totally misaligned with reality,” council chief executive Basil Chamberlain said. 

“It’s sad for the community of Waitara who can right now swim in their river 95 per cent of the time.”

The council’s director of environment quality, Gary Bedford, said he could find “no factual base to the Green’s claims”.

“We test the Waitara River every week during peak bathing season and have found it swimmable for 95 per cent of the time,” he said. 

 Bedford stressed that the council’s water quality data was publicly available and audited by Niwa to ensure its accuracy.

“It’s important to point out that if the bacteria levels reach even one point above the threshold it’s deemed at risk,” he said. 

Water spokesperson for the Greens Catherine Delahunty said the rivers selected in their top 10 didn’t necessarily represent the dirtiest in the country.

“We wanted ten from different regions from around the country that showed the different types of threats and problems rivers are facing, but which also highlighted the potential solutions for cleaning them up,” she said.

But the Taranaki Regional Council claims have fallen on deaf ears at Green HQ. Today Metiria Turei continued the 10 rivers campaign unchanged. Via email:

We’ve chosen 10 rivers to focus on, to find out what’s wrong and how we can clean them up again – we want your support for this campaign, can you add your name?
We can do it! Aotearoa has the resources and the know-how to clean up our rivers and protect the wild places that we love.

Our reward at the end of the hard work? The magic sound of a big splash and a shriek as that kid hits that sparkling, cold water.

How could anyone argue against that?

Taranaki Regional Council claim they have already done the hard work on the Waitara River.

Leave a comment


  1. Gezza

     /  9th June 2016

  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  9th June 2016

    Picking 10 at random without bothering to check the facts (or assuming that other people wouldn’t know) is very bad policy. It’s a bit like the university campaign where a number of photos of male students were posted up with ‘This man is a rapist’ on them.That was because, according to the organisers, they had the potential to be as they were male. This campaign seems to say rivers can be dirty, this is a river, this river is dirty.

    • Gezza

       /  9th June 2016

      The way your explain your thinking is quite unique Kitty.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  10th June 2016

        I’d have to say that spending all that money for the reward of a kid shrieking as it hits the water seems like a poor investment. I’d want a bit more than that. It would be a very expensive swim.

        I never cease to be surprised at the minds of people who disagree with the idea that it’s not all right to mislead people. In the case of the ‘rapists’ who were described as being rapists simply because they had the equipment to be, immeasurable distress was caused. To say that a river is filthy when it isn’t and hasn’t been for a long time shows sloppy research at best and dishonesty at worst.

        Four people seem to think that misinformation to make a point is acceptable. I don’t. It’s also a slap in the face for the people who’ve spent all that time and money cleaning a river and are told that it’s polluted and unusable when it obviously isn’t.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  10th June 2016

          Five people now ! Five people who think that outright deception is acceptable and don’t mind being taken in by misinformation. That is quite bizarre. I imagined that very few people would think that deception and misinformation were even remotely acceptable in politics or elsewhere-or is it all right when their own party’s doing it ?

          • Gezza

             /  10th June 2016

            The downticks might be something to do with your bringing rapists into it Kitty. People might just be scratching their heads over that bit? :/

            • Willis

               /  10th June 2016

              I downticked it for rapists, and for making the assumption (without proof to back it up) that these rivers have been chosen at random, and are actually not polluted.

    • Willis

       /  10th June 2016

      You’re taking the word of one council about one river to mean that it is all outright lies. I can assure you that the Ruamahanga is totally unswim-able in the summertime.

  3. Frank Tyson

     /  9th June 2016

    While their plan to make rivers swimmable their are more urgent priorities requiring cleanups including the Te Mome stream a tributary of the Hutt River heavily contamiated by Exide Batteries up to 2012 which is on the list of the 3 of the most contaminated sites in Wellington I along with others who live adjacent to the stream have been trying to get action started on this for over 3 years Check link below Appears while Government is prepared to come to the party Wellington Regional Council environment management general manager Nigel Corry said the areas presented little risk to the public unless there was a change to the way the land was used. As the stream flanks Shandon Golf Course on one side and HNZC properties on the other and people incl small children regularly walk on both sides of the stream what more evidence does he need During summer when the stream is at its lowest point the smell is attrocious coming from not only the river bed but the rubbish along the banks and need to keep the windows closed So come on WRC and all Political Parties get it sorted We all know literally $millions was spent cleaning up Waiwhetu Stream and that had less risk to the public than Te Mome Stream

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  10th June 2016

      That doesn’t have the emotive value of the child shrieking as he jumps into the water, of course. Nor can anyone cry ‘I am the Shandon golf course and the golf course is me !’ to the same extent.

      I wonder how the Greens explain away the many millions that have been spent by this government already on such things . They tell us that the Nationals don’t care and do nothing, only the Greens care for the environment.


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