Cleaning up our local rivers

Columns
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Earlier this month I joined roughly 1300 volunteers in the inaugural ‘Mother of all Clean Ups’. Right across Christchurch, numerous community groups, residents’ associations and individuals came together to pick up over twenty tonnes of litter from along the estuary edge and riverbanks.

Thank you to the Avon-Ōtākaro Network, Ōpāwaho Heathcote River Network and Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust for coordinating this superb initiative, and thank you to everyone who took part. This was a wonderful opportunity for us all to reconnect with our natural assets.

It was great to see such a fantastic community effort going in to cleaning up our local waterways, but managing our freshwater resources is also a national issue and one that requires Government action.

That is why the Government is taking steps to improve our freshwater management. We have already committed more than $350 million on projects to clean up and protect New Zealand’s most iconic lakes, rivers and wetlands. We are also strengthening and clarifying the national standards and setting limits regionally to protect the environment and water users. These steps are crucial in making sure we leave our rivers, lakes and aquifers in better shape for future generations.

Cleaning up our rivers and lakes is a big task and in many cases it will take time to see the results we need. With both the Government and our local communities tackling this matter head-on, I know we will continue to make significant progress in protecting this important resource.