Both the Taranaki Regional Council and the Ministry for Environment (MFE) have a responsibility for reporting on our waterways; - provincially and nationally. Recently MFE published a report indicating 12 sites were good, four were fair, and the remaining 18 were rated ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’.
Taranaki Regional Council Director of environmental quality Gary Bedford was reportedly frustrated stating “the region’s waterways were nowhere near as bad as reported, and urged anyone looking for accurate information to go to the council website”.
Jim Tucker, candidate for the Taranaki Regional Council, comments on this in a recent blog suggesting “in his view – and that of the TRC scientists – (the MFE criteria) give a skewed outcome”. He also states “TRC recently put a testing site at the (Waitara town) wharf and so far results show the river is consistently safe for swimming at that point. That’s the opposite view of the Ministry’s”.
It is also the opposite view of the Taranaki District Health Board and TRC’s own data as well. Which, of course, suggest political bias rather than any real scientific facts.
The maps on the home page of the Taranaki Regional Council website are the most accessible public information. Click on the icon of the ‘Red Action’ sign placed on the Waitara River at the town wharf. This site has both alert and action levels for high levels of e-coli.
Taranaki District Health Board provides information on the public health status based of these monitored sites. There is a permanent health warning at Waitara River to not swim based on Taranaki Regional Council data.