Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf endangered by river pollution

The Green Party will clean up rivers so that pollution from the Firth of Thames does not go on to pollute the Hauraki Gulf.

The Green Party will clean up rivers so that pollution from the Firth of Thames does not go on to pollute the Hauraki Gulf.

Research reported today by the principal scientist for marine ecology at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Dr John Zeldis, shows that the Firth of Thames is becoming more polluted because of farming run off from the Waihou and Piako river systems.

"The river pollution flowing into the Firth of Thames will inevitably affect the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland's primary recreational marine area," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.

"We are in danger of seeing a dead zone in the Firth of Thames due to the lower oxygen levels caused by algal blooms and die off resulting from nutrient flows coming down rivers from intensive agriculture. This will inevitably impact on the broader Hauraki Gulf.

"Auckland will lose a precious ecosystem in their backyard if we sit back and continue to do nothing.

"National's pollution economy has seen government subsidies for dairy intensification but not for industries that will keep our rivers clean. Instead of supporting good farmers who are doing the right thing, National is setting very low environmental standards which reward the poorest agricultural practices.

"All the scientific evidence points to New Zealand reaching a tipping point but yet National has done nothing to clean up our rivers or move to a more sustainable economy.

"The Green Party will act urgently to clean up our rivers and the Hauraki Gulf by moving towards a smarter economy that does not rely on ever increasing volumes of milk production, but focuses on adding value to agriculture while developing other industries with lower environmental footprints such as ICT.

"We need to clean up our rivers so that our children can swim in them and this is what the Green Party will do. Under National our rivers and waterways will just continue to get worse," said Dr Norman.

Link to New Zealand Herald article here.

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