Emoji poop used in fresh­wa­ter protest

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - THOMAS MANCH

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.

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