100% Pure Clean, Green NZ: Million People Drink Inadequately Treated Water


Giardia, one of the nasty bugs in NZ’s drinking water

According to a report by 3News.co.nz headed No clean green NZ water in Tokomaru

“Close to a million New Zealanders drink from water supplies that have no protection or ability to fight giardia or crypto-sporidium. As we all know those bugs can make you very sick.

It’s an appalling figure; The UN identifies safe drinking water as a human right, but an increasing number of New Zealand communities now have contaminated water supplies.

One of the worse cases we have found is in Tokomaru. It’s a town an hour and a half north of Wellington, not far from Palmerston North.

Not only have they been told to boil their water. They’ve been told to keep doing so for the next twelve years. This is clean, green New Zealand…” more here including a video report.

The money is there to make good this problem in Tokomaru but Parks and Recreation gets the cash and the bigger budget. Why? because it is deemed more important to attract new residents to the district than give them safe water to drink. In other words, making the place look nice is more important than looking after the health of its residents. Does that sound like a familiar theme?

Our regular readers will know that visitors to New Zealand are often told the water is safe to drink (greenwashing) but the reality is that many drinking water supplies in the country are little better than ‘third world’.

In August of last year we blogged about 20% of the population drinking unsafe water (including people in schools and and hospitals) and used the town of Darfield as an example, saying

“We are appalled that people in the Darfield area are still suffering from outbreaks of gastro-enteric diseases (potentially deadly E.coli, and Campylobacter) that would mimic those experienced in third world countries…”

two years before that we wrote

“Less than a week ago we highlighted a Ministry of Health report that revealed that drinking water quality in New Zealand was declining and that 20% of Kiwis have either unsafe / unregistered water supplies. Some schools and hospitals had shocking results read “20% Of Kiwis Have Unsafe Drinking Water, 43% Bathing Waters Unsafe” to find out more.

Now we hear that residents in Shannon, a small settlement between Palmerston North and Wellington,  are suffering the effects of a drinking water supply contaminated with giardia, cryptosporidium and possibly E. coli (a potentially fatal organism associated with faecal contamination) and other enteric ‘bug’s and they have had enough. They’ve told Horowhenua District Council that they want action, and they want it now…”

Now it seems that the problem is getting the publicity it deserves and the funding to put it right may follow. Next, New Zealand needs to clean up its dirty bathing waters (43% of which are unsafe) and it may eventually stand a chance of living up to its 100% pure image.

In the meantime, if you’re visiting New Zealand our advice is to boil your water or use purification tabs, as a last resort use bottled water – just be careful where it was produced.

You may also be interested in

Dairy intensification ‘killing NZ fast and dirty’ (Stuff.co.nz Nov 2013) and associated video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQsR2X2ZREw

“Another day. Another dire report for dairying and its impact on the environment.

Last week the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Dr Jan Wright) released her latest report ‘Water quality in New Zealand: Land use and nutrient pollution‘.

To say it’s negative is an understatement.

It seriously hammers the amount of nitrates and phosphorous entering our waterways, and argues that New Zealanders will soon be forced to choose between the environment and dairy farming.

Dr Wright predicts the situation will get even worse in the near future, with Canterbury and Southland likely to be the hardest hit…” more here

One thought on “100% Pure Clean, Green NZ: Million People Drink Inadequately Treated Water

  1. The supposedly pure spring water that supplied our house whilst living in one of those untouched areas they love to skite about -not one of those affected by giardia, supposedly, according to the giardia map- made us quite ill. If you ever mention that the unpure spring water is not as advertised by the Kiwis, they blame…backpackers.

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