Skip to main content

Clean rivers

Catherine Delahunty MP
catherine [dot] delahunty [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

Rivers you can swim inRivers 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

^ Back to Top