Minister must intervene in river silt disaster

Environment Minister Nick Smith must step in and question why the Hawkes Bay Regional Council (HBRC) has not prosecuted Eastland Group after a disastrous sediment spill that has devastated the Waihi and Waiau rivers, the Green Party said today.

Silt has polluted the Waihi and Waiau rivers since late last year, when Eastland Group’s sluice gate was broken.

“There are serious questions to ask of the Regional Council about why it hasn’t prosecuted the Eastland Group before now, and why its investigation is taking so long,”  said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“It’s the Minister’s job to ensure regional councils do their job and protect the environment.

“The effect of the dam spill on Wairoa’s water is devastating and the cost of the clean-up is massive for the community.

“Ratepayers in the Wairoa area are paying thousands to clean up the mess, so the Regional Council has to prosecute. Eastland Group is a profitable company who must take responsibility for this disaster.

“It’s not fair on Wairoa locals to have both their water supply wrecked by silt, and have to stump up to clean it up when they didn’t cause the problem,” said Ms Delahunty.

 

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