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Forest & Bird is celebrating the announcement of a new wetland restoration project near Lake Horowhenua, and calling for strong rules for wetlands and freshwater protection around the country.

"The Horowhenua branch of Forest & Bird have been working for years to plant native vegetation at Lake Papaitonga. We're excited to see their important work become part of a larger project to restore wetlands and bring back Lake Horowhenua from breaking point," says Forest & Bird spokesperson Tom Kay.

"Lowland lakes like Horowhenua, and their surrounding wetlands, are important habitat for fish and birds but have become incredibly polluted across the country, or we’ve lost them entirely."

"We need to restore areas like Lake Horowhenua, but these kinds of projects are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff for managing our freshwater problems."

"It's incredibly important the government has strong rules to prevent pollution and habitat loss in the first place. Current freshwater rules are not good enough." 

"We need a limit on nitrogen pollution levels in our rivers, lakes, and streams that protects ecosystem health. We also need all industries to play by the rules, including commercial vegetable growers. They are the primary source of pollution in the Horowhenua area, but they’re essentially exempt from freshwater rules at the moment.”

"And we need the 80% of wetlands that are on private land to be better protected by government and local councils." 

"Prevention is far better than cure for our freshwater habitats," says Mr Kay.

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