Introduction

The Manawatu River has been described as one of the most polluted rivers in the western world. The river contains some 75,600 cubic meters of discharged waste on a daily basis.[1] The main polluters are the Palmerston North City Council (PNCC), Fielding Sewerage Plant, Danniverke, Longburn Fonterra Plant and Ashhurst. All these actors have created a river which is not only undrinkable but also unswimmable.  The situation calls for a change in the environment, as the livelihoods of many Manawatu citizens has been stripped away due to commercial gain and ineffective governance.

On August 9, 2010 a voluntary agreement was signed between councils, the freezing works and Fonterra to clean up the Manawatu River. However, a key stakeholder in the polluted Manawatu River, Tararua Federated Farmers, failed to sign due to the strong clean-up rhetoric outlined in the document.[2] The purpose of this report is to create policy that will assist governing practices for a cleaner Manawatu River. Providing the Manawatu community with a swimmable, clean and purified river will conflict with a lot of business interests. The business community and even the local governments that are polluting the river will undoubtedly object to varying degrees. However, a cleaner river would provide businesses with cleaner production methods and exhibit a greater livelihood amongst citizens in Palmerston North and other areas of concentrated population.

This report has five main sections to it. Section one is the background to the issue. This focuses on the history of the problem and why the Manawatu River is so polluted. The analytical framework then follows, introducing the reader to the methodology I have used to analyze the situation. Analysis and findings, Integrative Management Systems and the One Plan then correspond to my analytical framework, finishing off with recommendations and a conclusion.


[1] John Morgan and Kelly Burns, “Manawatu River among Wost in the West,” The Dominion Post 2009. (accessed October 25, 2010).

[2] Three-News, “Pact Signed to Clean up Dirty Manawatu,” ed. TVNZ (2010).