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Witness exposes farming shame
UMA Broadcasting Ltd

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A Northland kaitiaki says consistent monitoring and reporting is needed if New Zealand’s waterways are to be cleaned up.

Milan Ruka spoke to the Maori Fisheries Conference yesterday on his work patrolling the rivers and streams of the Hikurangi Swamp which drains into the Kaipara Harbour.

The work started after a duck hunting expedition where he saw how tree clearance and intensive farming had replaced the clear, eel-filled streams of his youth with sediment-filled water flowing between banks turned into mud by the hooves of cattle.

Since he started submitting unsolicited reports to Northland Regional council and other authorities of Resource Management Act infringements such as dead cows lying uncollected on riverbanks, awareness has increased and at least 300 kilometres of fencing has gone up.

Milan Ruka says regional councils need to have their own monitoring staff out in the field, and the rules on stock near waterways need to be tightened and enforced.

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