Westpac announces $10K waterway boost

By jay

Westpac has jumped on board as the first corporate sponsor for SBN’s Million Metres Streams project, donating $10,000 towards the restoration of waterways in the Manawatu.  

Westpac’s investment in the Million Metres Streams project, SBN’s non-profit, crowd-funded project which aims to plant a million metres of waterways, is part of Westpac’s corporate social responsibility measures.

The announcement was made at the Central Districts Field Days on 12th March and outlined the partial funding of a 500m project in Manawatu’s Waituna West. Some 2,500 trees are set to be planted beside a stream weaving through the 275-hectare Ewanrigg farm, owned by Curwen and Marija Hare.

The environmentally savvy farm is already involved in possum trapping, has fenced off and retired 12 per cent of the land – including all the permanently flowing streams. Their efforts were recognised in 2013 when the couple won the Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award.

Given that our waterways are in such poor shape, with 44 per cent of monitored lakes polluted beyond the point of eutrophication, and 62 per cent  unsafe for us to swim in, Westpac CEO David McLean says it’s important to get behind such a worthwhile project to help clean and rejuvenate our streams and rivers.

“We wanted to be part of the Million Metres Streams project because we believe that innovation and collaboration with individuals, community and organisations are key to solving some of the most pressing issues that we face today.”

David says Westpac prides itself on being a leader in sustainable business practices.

“For us, this means tackling the long-term challenges facing our customers, our business and the country as a whole and helping develop solutions that contribute to a stronger New Zealand.

 “We are committed to providing products and solutions that support the transition to a cleaner economy, managing our environmental footprint, increasing the financial education and wellbeing of New Zealanders, and ensuring we have an inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of New Zealand society. Through it all we are committed to supporting the people and communities that are the bedrock of our business.”

Streamside planting is key to improving water quality, by reducing silt and phosphate run off into streams. It also helps sequester carbon and create habitat for birds, insects and other creatures like geckos.

Planting will take place during the wet season, with specimens sourced from Wanganui Prison and the Taupo Native Plant Nursery. Regional Westpac staff will lend a hand by helping to volunteer with digging holes and pulling out any stubborn weeds.

Million Metres Streams Communications Manager Claire Warren says the donation has been very significant for the project.

“Having Westpac as our first corporate sponsor is an important milestone for us and is hugely exciting. It is a great example of how businesses can get involved at a community level, both financially and on the ground. It’s good for the businesses and the communities, not to mention the waterways,” she says.

Find out more about the Million Metres Streams programme. If you’d like to find out more about corporate donations please contact claire@sustainable.org.nz