Lake Horowhenua resident fed up with the Crown's empty promises on water quality

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

A Horowhenua local resident says National's allocation of funding for Lake Horowhenua's Water Quality improvement project won't be enough.

Phil Taueki has been fighting to protect his lake for years now.

“I was amazed at the hypocrisy coming out of the mouth of the minister. The treatment of this lake epitomises the Crown’s disgusting appalling attitude to the rights of Māori to protect their taonga.”

Despite the bad treatment, he says the government isn't doing enough to stop the abuse.

“The storm water, the sewage, the run-off from the farms and everything from the town of Levin is directed to be discharged into our lake. What everyone needs to remember including you Nick Smith is this is a private lake, this is privately owned.”

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says Nick Smith's $44 million announcement to clean up the waterways looks a lot like the same announcement he made a number of years ago.

“It would be a lot better if we'd just stopped polluting them in the first place then we wouldn’t have to spend tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning it up after the fact. All of that burden is placed on the taxpayer and none of it is placed on the industry, which is causing the pollution in the first place.”

Although both Taueki and Shaw seem to disagree with National's approach to fresh water, they like Labour's innovative solution.

Taueki says “It was refreshing to see the policy statement just released by Labour, which seems to, on the surface, acknowledge the rights of Māori and they intend to speak to Māori about their rights. The thing is no one owns the water but everyone owns the duty to protect it.”

Taueki says they will be blocking the Queen St drain in the next few months if more action isn't taken.