Pub­lic funds for wa­ter­way clean-ups

The Bay Chronicle - - OUT & ABOUT - CHAR­LIE MITCHELL

More than 100 rivers and lakes have been tar­geted in the first round of pub­licly funded clean-up projects for pol­luted wa­ter­ways.

Prime Min­is­ter Bill English and En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Nick Smith an­nounced $44 mil­lion from the Fresh­wa­ter Im­prove­ment Fund would go towards var­i­ous fresh­wa­ter projects through­out the coun­try, in­clud­ing $2.5m for North­land.

‘‘The 10 largest water bod­ies that will ben­e­fit from this in­vest­ment are the Wairoa River in North­land, Lake Whangape in the Waikato, Lake Tarawera in the Bay of Plenty, the Manawatu River and Lake Horowhenua in Manawatu-Whanganui, Lake Onoke in Welling­ton, the Waimea River in Tas­man, the Sel­wyn River in Can­ter­bury, Lake Wanaka in Otago and Te Waituna la­goon in South­land,’’ Smith says.

Among them are a large dam, as well as fund­ing for new wet­lands, na­tive plant­ings, and fencing.

Most of the 33 projects funded were al­lo­cated in the North Is­land – it re­ceived $27m of the $44m.

Eight of the projects were in the South Is­land.

North­land Re­gional Coun­cil Chair­man Bill Shep­herd wel­comed the fund­ing which will also help more than two dozen North­land dune lakes in the wider Aupouri and Pouto ar­eas.

The coun­cil - which is al­ready plan­ning to make a sep­a­rate con­tri­bu­tion of about $1.5M on be­half of its ratepay­ers - made the ap­pli­ca­tions to the Fresh­wa­ter Im­prove­ment Fund ear­lier this year.

‘‘These projects demon­strate a strong de­gree of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween our coun­cil, lo­cal iwi and our pri­mary sec­tor with a shared goal of im­prov­ing fresh­wa­ter, he says.

‘‘It’s fan­tas­tic to see cen­tral govern­ment also ‘com­ing to the party’ with sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions of its own to these two very worth­while projects.’’

English said the fund­ing re­flected the Govern­ment’s com­mit­ment to water qual­ity.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said tax­pay­ers had been left a massive bill, be­cause in­dus­try had been al­lowed to keep pol­lut­ing.

‘‘It’s too lit­tle, too late. What you need to do is to stop pol­lu­tion go­ing into rivers and lakes in the first place, oth­er­wise, as seen in this an­nounce­ment, you have to spend hun­dreds of mil­lions to clean it up,’’ he said.

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