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  • It is 23 minutes past 7, great to have you with us, New Zealand, from end of paradise

  • to the other; it is paradise even though you can't swim in all the rivers. We market ourselves

  • internationally as being clean and green. A statement which is a little bit rich if

  • you look at the state of our rivers. In fact we haven't maybe looked at them enough and

  • there are many New Zealanders who are just getting to the point in their lives now where

  • they realise all is not perfect in Godzone. The Government's already committed $100 million

  • over ten years to cleaning up our waterways; they want people to be able to wade in all

  • of our rivers. So it's okay for National as long as we can get to the point where we can

  • wade in the rivers. The Green Party says that isn't good enough and that our rivers actually

  • need to be swimmable. So not drinkable, but swimmable. So that's where you are, you've

  • got wading, you've got swimming and then at the top of your game you've got drinking.

  • Green Party co-leader James Shaw is with me now, James good morning to you.

  • Good morning Paul. You know there wouldn't be many New Zealanders,

  • even those that poo-poo the Greens and just think a group of feral strange people that

  • aren't alarmed that our rivers have got to the point that they have got. When did we

  • start dropping the ball on rivers? Well we actually started dropping the ball

  • about 20 years ago, so this is a long run problem and it basically matches the intensification

  • of the dairy industry and also increasing population, particularly in our main urban

  • centres and you know, like Auckland and so on so it's been a problem that's been around

  • for a while. We haven't got a huge population for our area

  • though really have we? So it must come down, I suppose you've narrowed down dairying and

  • then industry. Well dairying and industry yes but it actually,

  • there is a lot of these rivers that flow through our near urban centres so the Ruamahanga goes

  • through Masterton, the Lucas Creek, in Auckland, of course which runs from Albany to the Waitemata

  • Harbour and two or three decades ago that was swimmable and a lot of places it was actually

  • drinkable but over the course of time, there's been a lot of silt, metals and weeds that

  • have choked it up and so it's now at the point where if you put your head under the water

  • you do run the risk of catching a horrible infection.

  • Everyone can understand dairy and its pollutant nature to rivers but when it comes to industry,

  • when it comes to a large population, the things that you're talking about now, what is it

  • that we'rehow have we dropped the ball on tipping things into rivers?

  • Well in the Lucas Creek in Auckland for example, there are a number of stormwater drains that

  • run into the creek and there's rubbish and toxins that build up in the stormwater drains

  • that get passed through into the creek as well. So one of the things that we would look

  • at for urban centres in Auckland and other ones is proper stormwater filters where they

  • do meet the creek and also managing new development because part of what's happening of course

  • is that as you get more developments going on, you get soil and the heavy metals that

  • get tipped into the creek as well. Alright so the one good thing about all of

  • this and National have acknowledged it too is that at least now we're focussing on this

  • because obviously for at least a decade, we didn't even see that this was a burgeoning

  • problem. You don't know how much this is going to cost, National have said we'll throw $100

  • million at making these rivers wadeable and I agree with you, wadeable isn't good enough

  • but they don't even know if 100 million is enough for that. I mean what kind of money

  • are we talking? Well there have been some huge estimates,

  • there was one estimate that we saw late last year that said the cost of cleaning up all

  • of our rivers around the country could be anywhere between $4 billion and $7 billion

  • over the course of the coming few decades. It's a colossal cost and that's one of the

  • reasons why in this campaign we're focussing on ten key rivers around the country where

  • we can say we know what's going to make a difference, it's not going to cost the earth,

  • let's focus on some local rivers that people really know and love.

  • Can you - now I know that one of the things you've said is you would stop any more resource

  • consent for any more dairy farms, but you take the Ruamahanga in the Wairarapa, there

  • must be a lot of dairy farms on the banks of that river. Now you're not suggesting that

  • any of those dairy farms are closed down so how can you clean the river?

  • No absolutely not, well there are a number of things you can do and in fact there are

  • a lot of very good farm stories where farmers are putting huge amounts of effort into making

  • sure that they don't get runoff from the animals in to their water and from the nitrogens into

  • the water, you can do things like plant wetlands, riparian planting, increasing fencing along

  • the waterways, to ensure that animals don't get into the rivers and so on.

  • So this is not, we haven't missed the ball entirelywe haven't missed the party on

  • this, you think that there is still time to get all of these rivers to a swimmable standard?

  • Yes we do, none of them are completely beyond hope and in fact with the right kind of effort

  • I think it's not going to - we just need to focus on it.

  • Are Labour completely onside, your new buddies? I haven't spoken to them about it yet, but

  • philosophically, for sure. Okay James thank you very much for joining

  • us. Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

It is 23 minutes past 7, great to have you with us, New Zealand, from end of paradise

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B1 creek auckland dairy green party james shaw

James Shaw on Paul Henry talking swimmable rivers

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    852 posted on 2017/12/15
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