Emoji poop used in freshwater protest
Inflatable poos have been floated on the Waikato River in protest of the Government’s new freshwater standards.
Campaign group Action Station hastily organised the stunt to capture a visual message in advance of a meeting of environmentally conscious National Party members.
A team of seven scattered 50 poo emojis on Lake Ohakuri to demonstrate their views on the Government’s adjustment to freshwater standards.
As the faecal-shaped floaters bobbed in the water, the protesters cried: ‘‘Cut the crap National’’.
Action Station campaigner Rick Zwaan said the standards would fail to improve water quality and result in more ‘‘poo and wee’’ in the water.
‘‘They’re muddying the waters on this, it’s an underhanded PR stunt to look like they’re doing something on it.
‘‘That’s why we’ve got these 50 poop emojis, to demonstrate what it looks like.’’
In February, environment minister Nick Smith announced a target to make 90 per cent of rivers swimmable by 2040.
The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management changed the acceptable E.coli standard for waterways to 540
‘‘They're muddying the waters on this, it's an underhanded PR stunt to look like they're doing something on it.’’
parts per 100mls of water, 80 per cent of the time.
‘‘This ambitious plan to improve the water quality in our lakes and rivers recognises that New Zealanders expect to be able to take a dip in their local river or lake without getting a nasty bug,’’ Smith said at the time.
The Ministry of Environment has committed $100 million over 10 years to support projects which manage fresh water within these limits.
‘‘Given the current state of our rivers, that’s bugger all,’’ Zwaan said.
It was difficult to assess how much needed to be spent, he said.
‘‘That’s not really the point. The point is, this is too valuable an asset to let get to such a state.’’
Zwaan said the current policy setting around rivers allowed economics - the expense of replacing a sewerage plant, or planting trees along a riverside farm - to outweigh environmental concerns.
Protester Joseph Cowdell helped wrangle any stray floaters with his boat.
‘‘I do believe the rivers are getting trashed. It can’t hurt to jump up and down about it,’’ he said.
Smith’s office has been contacted for comment.