What?s the first thing you do when you get married? Clean up 10 rivers?

Although cleaner rivers are something that the Greens and I are on the same page about, strategically you have to question why this is their first public campaign immediately after getting into bed with Labour.

The Green Party wants to clean up 10 of New Zealand’s most polluted rivers and make them safe to swim in again.

At the party’s annual conference in Christchurch on Sunday, co-leader Metiria Turei launched the campaign and attacked the Government’s track record on the environment, saying National had given up on clean rivers.

“Rivers can be clean enough to swim in, but only if the Government lifts its ‘wadeable’ standards and demands they be swimmable instead,” Ms Turei said.

“Under National nearly two-thirds of our rivers are unsafe for swimming. New Zealand needs a government to back our rivers and to stop defending polluters.”

As part of the campaign, the Greens have targeted 10 dirty rivers up and down the country – including the Waikato, Tukituki and Manawatu rivers.

MPs will be hitting the road to highlight what’s threatening the rivers – from over-intensification of dairying and sewerage to industrial pollution – and what can be done to help clean them up and protect them.

More parliamentary expenses and massive carbon footprints. They’d be more believable if they cycled to their campaigns.

Earlier this year Environment Minister Nick Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy unveiled the Government’s proposed new measures to improve the quality of fresh water.

They included national standards for fences to keep farm animals out of water and developing better water management practice guidelines and efficiency standards for water use.

But the Government opted to keep the clean water standard at “wadeable”, rather than lifting it to “swimmable”.

In last month’s budget, Dr Smith announced $100 million of funding over 10 years for a new contestable fund to clean up rivers, lakes and aquifers.

Ms Turei said that was a “drop in the bucket” of what is needed to make rivers safe for swimming.

Fair enough, but which rivers are most important to the Greens?

The Greens’ top 10 dirty rivers:

  • The Wairua
  • The Kaip?tiki/Lucas Creek
  • The Waikato
  • The Tarawera
  • The Waitara
  • The Tukituki
  • The Ruam?hanga
  • The Manawat?
  • The Waikirikiri/Selwyn
  • The Mataura

The Kaip?tiki? Where is that? I had to look it up…it seems that of all the streams and rivers in Auckland this tiny little stream on the North Shore is the most important. It’s almost like they just picked one river from each region to be inclusive, irrespective of the actual state of the river.

Was cleaning up the Tamaki River, the biggest river in Auckland, just too hard? What about all the other rivers in the Auckland Region? Why is Lucas Creek not even on the list of rivers in the Auckland region? Why not Wairau Creek the longest river system on the North Shore. Or the Wairoa River which runs past Clevedon and looks nothing like the water that flows over the Hunua Falls and nothing at all like the water from the Hunua Dam, which provides Auckland’s water, from which it flows?

I’ll bet a dollar to a knob of goat poo that Lucas Creek was chosen because some Green party womble is on a committee of some creek beautification project team working on that creek. Rather than actual need. Is Lucas Creek really one the top ten worst rivers in New Zealand that needs saving?

The whole thing sounds like a green-washing project to me…with dubious claims.


– Newshub