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Bureaucratic no-man’s land

Furniture dumped by Waiohine River bridge on SH2. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

Who cleaned up the rubbish?

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Nobody wanted to take responsibility for furniture dumped by the Waiohine River bridge on State Highway 2.

It appeared the dumping spot had three councils – Greater Wellington, South Wairarapa and Carterton – and the New Zealand Transport Agency all looking at each other to clean up the mess.

The furniture was spotted by members of the public on Monday after being dumped over the weekend, and until some time Tuesday afternoon nobody had taken responsibility for its removal from beside the riverbed.

South Wairarapa District Council received complaints about the rubbish on Monday but communications manager Amy Wharram said it was the responsibility of NZTA because of where the load was dumped.

NZTA communications manager Jasmine Sullivan said it was outside of their boundary and “probably part of the river, managed by either Greater Wellington Regional Council or South Wairarapa District Council”.

Regional council spokesman Matthew O’Driscoll told the Times-Age if the furniture had been dumped a little bit closer to the river it would have been something they would have to investigate.

“Rubbish is generally the domain of local councils, but if it’s having an environmental impact then we’d have to investigate from a negligence angle, with environmental protection in mind.

“Generally, local councils like Carterton or South Wairarapa look after rubbish. Greater Wellington would only be involved if there were serious environmental risks that needed investigating.”

The bridge borders Carterton and Greytown, but Carterton District Council said the dumped furniture was “on the South Wairarapa side of the bridge so it would fall under South Wairarapa District Council”.

While boundaries remained intact, Wairarapa Resource Centre Re-use Shop manager Justine Jones said there was absolutely no excuse for dumping rubbish by a riverbed and doing so was “just plain ignorance”.

The shop operated six days a week and made pickups from household addresses.

“We would have definitely picked it up and definitely taken the goods because that’s our philosophy.”

Jones said if legal dumping wasn’t an option because of cost there were Wairarapa Facebook sites offering goods for free.

“They are designed to help people in this predicament,” Jones said. “Before you get to that stage – if you had it in a vehicle it would have been just as easy to deliver it to somewhere like the re-use shop.”

By late Tuesday afternoon the eyesore furniture had been removed, but the Times-Age was unable to verify who the mover was.


  1. What a bunch of over paid thumb twiddlers.. all are just an absolute disgrace.. as they say become a bureaucrat and watch your IQ drop exponentially.

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