Cleaning up our rivers and lakes

The Government says it is delivering on its commitment to clean up our waterways with a new package that will create jobs and benefit the value of New Zealand’s agriculture export and tourism offerings.

Primary sector and other groups will be financially assisted with the implementation of the new clean water standards through a $700 million fund that will create jobs in riparian and wetland planting, removing sediments and other initiatives to prevent farm runoff entering waterways.

“Our environmental reputation is the thing that underpins our biggest export earners – tourism and agriculture. It’s time for us to invest in cleaning up our water in order to protect the economic value add it brings,” Environment Minister David Parker said.

“Many of our rivers, lakes and wetlands are under serious threat after years of decline and political inaction. If we don’t start cleaning up our water now they will get worse, become more expensive to fix and we risk serious damage to our international clean green reputation.”

“New Zealanders want to go down to their local swimming spot in summer and be able to put their head under without getting crook,” David Parker said.

“Cleaning our waterways will secure the future of our meat, dairy and other primary exports and ensure they continue to earn higher prices overseas. It makes both economic and environmental sense.”

“People visit New Zealand because of our clean green image; it’s how we market ourselves to the world. But for too long we have put our reputation at risk as our waterways became more and more polluted. This package is a long-overdue investment in our tourism brand and international reputation.”

“We know the primary sector is facing challenges in the wake of COVID-19 so the Government has reduced the cost and impact on them, including putting up $700 million in funding to help with clean-up efforts, but without compromising environmental benefits,” David Parker said.

Information in support of the package including the Cabinet papers, a summary of submissions report, the Independent Advisory Panel’s and advisory groups’ final reports, and the impact assessment reports are available on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.