Rivers are the cultural, spiritual, and economic lifeblood of New Zealand. Rivers are a key element of Māori whakapapa, and important to the identity of all New Zealanders.
We want our rivers to be clean enough for swimming, playing, fishing, and gathering kai, and to remain clean and healthy enough for our children and grandchildren to enjoy in the future.
Sadly, according to the Ministry for the Environment, nearly two-thirds of New Zealand's monitored river swimming spots were too polluted for swimming last summer.
This is why one of the Green Party's top election priorities is to make New Zealand rivers clean enough to swim in again.
The Green Party has a vision for Aotearoa New Zealand where families can head down to their local swimming hole and jump right in without worrying about getting sick.
The Green Party's plan to make our rivers clean enough for swimming includes:
1. Establishing a protected rivers network
The Green Party will establish a protected rivers network to permanently safeguard our most precious rivers similar to the permanent protection given to national parks.
The protected rivers network will stop the destruction of rivers from irrigation, dams and pollution, while retaining the full right of all New Zealanders to use the rivers for food gathering and recreation.
Iwi and hapu will be involved in the protection plan process at each step, in recognition of their kaitiakitanga and rangatiratanga.
2. Setting robust standards that ensure rivers are clean enough for swimming
The Green Party will overhaul and strengthen National's weak National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, implement a strong National Environmental Standard for water quality and implement a National Environmental Standard for water flows in rivers, all of which will be geared to make our rivers clean and healthy enough for swimming.
3. Keeping our wild rivers wild by not building any new dams on them
For more detail:
Recent news about Clean rivers
Fonterra's cut to the dairy pay-out today shows National needs new ideas for the economy other than reliance on increasing commodity dairy production, which pollutes our waterways more and threatens New Zealand's clean, green brand, the Green Party said today. More
The Green Party will ensure our rivers are clean enough to swim in again by reducing the large amount of pollution that gets into them from intensive agriculture and other farms.
Research reported today by the principal scientist for marine ecology at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Dr John Zeldis, shows that the Firth of Thames is becoming more polluted because of farming run off from the Waihou and Piako river systems.
Eugenie Sage represents the Green party at the North Canterbury branch of Forest and Bird political panel discussion on conservation and the environment More
Green Party representatives Eugenie Sage and Mark Servian presenting Green Party policies on the environment More
Eugenie Sage presents Green Party policies on conservation and environment issues at the Tararua Tramping Club political debate More
The Green Party believes New Zealanders identify with our wild places. They identify with our natural landscapes. They are the basis of our *" "100% Pure New Zealand" brand, which allows us to sell our food, fibre, and primary products overseas and which draws tourists to this country. More
Does he stand by his statement that "the Government needs to take a broader perspective than just Fish and Game's advocacy for their recreational fishing"? More
It seems that Conservation Minister Nick Smith has again been caught out interfering to allow more pollution in our rivers, the Green Party said today.
Does the Government's National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management require the 61 percent of monitored recreational river sites that are graded "poor" or "very poor" to be safe for swimming? More
The Green Party has announced today that its number one environmental priority for this election is making our rivers clean enough to swim in again and keeping our beaches safe from oil spills.
Today we are announcing that the Green Party's number one environmental priority for this election is making our rivers clean enough to swim in again and keeping our beaches safe from oil spills. More
Federated Farmers needs to show greater leadership on water quality, the Green Party said today.
What percentage of river swimming sites, where data is collected, in the most recent Ministry for the Environment Suitability for Swimming Indicator Update were graded poor or very poor? More
I understand that tomorrow the Minister will release the Government's final decisions on the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management. That national policy statement is the major policy document under the Resource Management Act, which influences More