TAKE ACTION: Tell the Government to clean up New Zealand's rivers

Photo of polluted river in New Zealand with a sign that says: No swimming, no boating, polluted

We want New Zealand’s rivers and lakes to be clean and healthy. Freshwater fishing and river swimming has long been a favourite pastime of the Kiwi summer holiday.

Unfortunately, the Government’s proposed minimum freshwater standards are letting the Kiwi dream down. The Government’s position is that water only needs to be safe for “wading” which means, legally speaking, that our rivers and lakes are allowed to pose a “moderate risk” of infection when people are wading or boating in them. Under this legislation, our freshwater can be so polluted that 1 in 20 people just walking through would get sick. The result? Our rivers and lakes are increasingly unsafe for people to swim in or gather food from, and our people, birds and fish are suffering for it[1]

The good news is that we have an opportunity to fix this right now. Earlier this year, our friends at Choose Clean Water and an amazing team of supporters from all over the country took the voices of tens of thousands of New Zealanders to Parliament to hand in a petition calling for the Government to set “swimmable” as the minimum standard for freshwater in lakes, rivers and streams. [2]

That petition has been referred to Select Committee and on Thursday 13th October the crew at Choose Clean Water will make the case for clean rivers to MPs directly.

Picture the scene: The team at Choose Clean Water and a crew of ActionStation members arrive to Parliament equipped with a camera, a giant billboard-sized collage of photos featuring members of our community, and a pile of stats about water quality in New Zealand. Imagine hundreds (or thousands!) of photos of mums, dads, doctors, business owners, students, activists, tangata whenua, farmers, teachers, nurses, police, pensioners all over the billboard. Marnie from Choose Clean Water hands over the giant photo message and says, “Behind these petitions are real people that are concerned about New Zealand’s water. We are not numbers on a spreadsheet. We are many, we are powerful, we are voters and you need to listen. Here is a list of our concerns and demands.” That is powerful.

Let’s make the most of this opportunity to speak directly to power, by showing the power of our community.

Use the form to add a photo of yourself and/or your whānau enjoying your local river, lake or stream, then tell us a little bit about who you are so Choose Clean Water can include it in their storytelling for the submission.

The event is also open to the public, so if you’re keen to come along, please do! It’s at 11am on Thursday 13th October. Sign up to the Facebook event here to stay up to date.


  1. Choose Clean Water submission in full, PDF
  2. Petition hopes to improve Government aims on water, Newshub, 29th March 2016

Use this form to upload a photo and/or leave a comment about yourself

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