New Zealand Defence Force joins effort to clean up Fox River landfill

The Defence Force has sent 30 additional personnel to help clean-up landfill waste in Westland.  

The equivalent of 3000 rugby fields has been contaminated after waste from the Fox River landfill emptied following floods in March.

Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour says the Defence Force's role is wider than some think.

"Whilst some New Zealanders might consider that we don't raise a defence force to be involved in a rubbish clearance this is exactly the kind of task that we should be involved in, we've got the equipment and personnel."

The NZDF is deploying up 70 personnel in phases.

"For us to get people out there, track where they are, monitor their safety and get them back, the most part I think on the coast that's going to require helicopter movement," Gilmour told Newshub.

It's estimated the rubbish is strewn across 2100 hectares.

"We're really keen on smashing it as soon as possible with my team. I don't mean to be too callous about it, we really want to get in there and get it done," said Gilmour.