One of the rivers that Green Party MPs will visit during their Swimmable Rivers campaign later this month has been named as one of the worst sites to swim in in the Wellington Region.
The Ruamāhanga river has once again scored a D rating for swimming at The Cliffs, a site south of Masterton, in the annual Greater Wellington Regional Council Recreational Swimming Report Card.
“The Ruamāhanga’s story is a tragic one – it starts out pristine in the Tararua Ranges but by the time it gets to the sea, the water is in a grim state. Lots of people are working hard to clean up the river and limit the pollution going into it, but without strong minimum standards from the Government, many of our worst off rivers – and the communities who treasure them – will suffer,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“Over the next ten months, we will be visiting 10 rivers around the country that are under stress from intensive agriculture, silt build-up, sewage, urban contaminants, Government-subsidised irrigation and industrial dumping, including the Ruamāhanga, to show how Green Party solutions can make our country’s rivers safe for swimming once again.
“The Government says rivers only have to be safe enough to wade or boat in; we say that’s not good enough and rivers should be safe enough to swim in.
“The National Government would rather make excuses for why we can’t have clean rivers, rather than show some vision and find alternatives to dumping pollution in our most precious resource.
“The Green Party in government will make ‘swimmable’ the minimum standard for rivers, and introduce a range of measures to stop pollution from entering waterways,” said Ms Delahunty.
Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty will be visiting the river and speaking at a public meeting in Carterton on July 28.