4 May 2013

Traditional skills 'not taught due to river pollution'

8:15 pm on 4 May 2013

A Bay of Plenty Regional Council member says river pollution is preventing Maori from handing down traditional fishing skills to their children.

Cr Tipene Marr told a meeting of MPs in Whakatane on Thursday he supported a law change that would help clean up the nearby Tarawera River.

An amendment to the Resource Management Act is being considered by Parliament's Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

It would limit the time during which companies are allowed to expel discharge into rivers under an "exceptional circumstances" clause without reapplying for permission.

It would reduce the timeframe from 35 years to five.

Mr Marr said the bill would enhance the cultural guardianship that Maori have over the river.

He said a paper mill in Whakatane that expels its waste into the Tarawera would have to negotiate every five years before it could continue doing that.

Mr Marr said the mill has been polluting the river for more than 50 years.