The Freshwater Improvement Fund of just $10 million a year is a drop in the bucket of what is needed to make our rivers safe for swimming, the Green Party said today.
“The Waikato River will need between $3 billion and $8 billion alone to clean it up. Nearly $36 million has gone into cleaning up Lake Taupō from the Government alone. Billions of dollars are needed to clean up waterways damaged by dairy intensification, sewage, and industrial and urban pollution - $10 million a year just isn’t going to cut it,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“The $100 million promised in the Budget by the Government over 10 years is only $10 million a year, and funding doesn’t really kick in for some years. That isn’t enough to clean up our waterways, and doesn’t address the causes of pollution such as intensive dairying.
“The Government is giving polluters a free pass by not addressing the causes of pollution.
“The Freshwater Improvement Fund will also lead to more pollution as the fund is open to irrigation projects.
“Irrigation leads to further water degradation, changes the natural flow of rivers, and destroys habitats. It is an expensive, short-term solution to demand for water.
“The Green Party can make our rivers safe for swimming again, and will encourage sustainable land use that does not pollute our rivers,” said Ms Delahunty.