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The Hauraki Gulf and a deluge of chemicals

By Malcolm Campbell.

Since the last issue of The Informer, yet another Seabird Coastal Plan has been released by the Hauraki District Council, to protect the western coast of the Hauraki Gulf along the Kaiaua and Whakatiwai shore, from among other things, the ravages of the projected Climate Change.

Further information reveals that the National Institution of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is studying the sea floor as to whether the mussel farms have any impact on water quality. That brings the number of planning authorities to six without Fish and Game, Forest and Bird and the Environmental Defence Society.

Amazingly, there has not been a single mention of the deluge of chemicals discharged into the water by the same above-mentioned authorities who are collectively going to restore the Hauraki Gulf to its former glory enjoyed years ago. The RMA specifically states, the purpose of the Act is, ‘To Safeguard the Life Supporting Capacity of the air, soil and WATER and Eco Systems’. In effect, the RMA has been the controlling legislation for twenty-five years and it has been an abject failure.

Time to Stop. Find an alternative

Figures have been obtained under the Official Information Act and show the tonnes of poison inflicted on the greater Waikato Region. These figures are of the neat undiluted concentrate. This amounts to a total of Fifty Tonnes and this figure is likely to be conservative. Some of these products are unbelievably toxic, only 100mls of the product to spray a hectare. Another such concentrate is diluted 600 ml in 100 litres of water.

To illustrate further, a swimming pool 20 metres long, 2.5 metres wide and one metre deep could be filled to those dimensions, with the undiluted poison, enough for a person to swim in (not recommended if a long healthy life is desired). What the quantity of poison administered in spray-form amounts to, would require a mathematician to calculate.

Here are some details disclosed under the Official Information Act.

Environment Waikato use ten tonnes annually.

Hauraki District Council use over four tonnes and Matamata Piako District Council over three tonnes. Every council in the area, eleven of them, have spray programmes, the figures have been extrapolated to an average of three tonnes per council. This gives a total of forty-three tonnes. However, this does not take into account Healthy Rivers Waiora, Waikato River Care, Land Information NZ (Lake Karapiro), or the private use by house-holders or farmers.

Admittedly, this is a guesstimate, but by looking at the entire Waikato Regional Area from generally Lake Taupo northward to Cape Colville, it would appear that about three fifths of the area is drained by the Waikato and Waipa River systems exiting at the Waikato Heads. Two fifths will drain via the Waihou, Piako, Waitoa, Ohinemuri river systems and other man-made canals into the Hauraki Gulf. The Gulf will receive the residue from twenty tonnes of this poison annually. Records held indicate this has been happening now for at least ten years. Therefore 200 tonnes of residue poison and the resulting dead vegetation have been inflicted on the Hauraki Gulf.

Herbicides in one form or another have now been in use for much longer, very close to sixty years, since they came on the scene. We still have the weeds and now the poisoned water. Put another way, around 1960-65 we entered the ‘Chemical Age’. This mayhem could be easily stopped, just stop and find an alternative.

“You cannot expect the people who created the problem to solve the problem.” Albert Einstein

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