Public funds for waterway clean-ups
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.