27 Mar 2012

River patrol man distances himself from new group

7:17 am on 27 March 2012

Northland's river patrol man Millan Ruka has distanced himself from a new national body set up to defend the nation's waterways.

Mr Ruka attended a public meeting in Wellington at the weekend to explain his mission and methods for reporting on river pollution to the regional council.

But he says a newly-formed national body, Environmental River Patrol, seems to favour a more confrontational or political approach - and that is not his way.

Mr Ruka says the group, led by clean-river campaigners from Wellington and Wairarapa, has excellent intent and is passionate about cleaning up rivers.

However, he says those involved have had confrontations with landowners in the past and he is not interested in that path - or in taking risks that could incur legal costs.

Millan Ruka says he has had a good response to his photos and detailed reports of stock in rivers, from local councils and more recently, from Fonterra.

He says the dairy cooperative has told him it will be talking to its Northland suppliers implicated in his reports of stock fouling waterways.

Mr Ruka says his organisation, Environmental River Patrol Aotearoa, will continue its reporting to the authorities and he has trade-marked the name to protect its principles.