Dozens of Auckland’s beaches have been deemed unsafe for those wanting to take a dip today following recent heavy rain.
According to Auckland Council Safeswim website, beaches around the suburbs of Howick and Bucklands Beach, St Heliers, and beaches around Titirangi and Blockhouse Bay aren’t safe to swim in because there is a “high risk of illness from swimming”.
Parts of Hibiscus Coast were also deemed unsafe for swimming.
A number of long-term alerts remain in place, including in Titirangi Beach, Green Bay and Cox’s Bay. This means these spots consistently fault to meet national guidelines.
The alerts are classified as red alert, which are triggered by enterococci in the water. The bacteria is common in animal and human faeces, and end up in the water through animal and bird droppings, or from stormwater runoff and wastewater discharges.
Auckland has been hit with heavy downpours in recent days.
A red alert indicates there is a more than 2 per cent chance someone could become ill from swimming in water.
National’s environment spokesperson Scott Simpson said the “ongoing polluted state” of Auckland’s beaches were “unacceptable”.
“The fact that as many as one in 10 people swimming at popular Auckland beaches are likely to become ill highlights the just how polluted those beaches are,” Simpson said.
“The sad thing is, people are missing out on their chance to swim during the peak summer holiday season yet again.”
He called for Parliament’s Environment Select Committee to conduct a formal inquiry into the state of Auckland’s beaches.
Duty Minister Andrew Little told 1 NEWS the Government has programmes in place to address water quality issues.
"We know our beaches and rivers have been degraded over many decades. Ecosystems have suffered as a result of urban development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and other human activities.
"That’s why the Government is taking action to restore and protect the health of New Zealand's water systems, including improving the water quality at swimming spots and working to protect both urban and rural streams, and step up the pace of getting New Zealanders into work through our Jobs for Nature fund," Little says.
He then outlined recent steps the Government has taken in more detail.
"In August we passed legislation to create Taumata Arowai—the Water Services Regulator.
"Taumata Arowai will provide oversight of, and advice on, the regulation, management, and environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater networks.
"We also have the Essential Freshwater work programme to reverse past damage and bring freshwater resources, waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation."