An iwi group sought an annual grant of $ 50,000 from the developers of the proposed Arapuni dairy factory.
The revelation was made during the resource consent hearing in Putaruru on Wednesday.
Representatives from Ngati Koroki Kahukura Trust told the hearing they had discussed with developers some form of donation.
The money would benefit the Arapuni community and environment said trustee Linda Te Aho.
Arapuni Milk chairman Barry McLaggan said a charitable trust with $50,000 a year to spend was to be set up as part of the proposed Arapuni dairy factory.
The trust would be an independent body he said – and how and to what it made grants was still being finalised.
Mr McLaggan said that the issue of an annual donation to the community was discussed with the Ngati Koroki Kahukura Trust. However he refused to comment further while Trust negotiations were ongoing.
The trust was one of only two submitters to oppose the milk factory at Arapuni during the hearing.
Ms Te Aho told the hearing that previous large scale developments such as the Karapiro Dam had caused negative impacts on Maori in the area, despite the gain of temporary employment.
When the river was dammed burial caves in cliffs that were once above the river were flooded and Ms Te Aho said unfortunately Maori did not have a chance to recover all of the remains.
Ms Te Aho said benefits from the dams went to the nation at the expense of the area’s Maori population.
The trust wanted to avoid a repeat of that with Arapuni Milk and did not want to see all of the benefits go to investors.
A annual grant from the milk factory would ensure the community would benefit, beyond employment opportunities, from the operation of the plant.
During discussions with
Arapuni Milk Ms Te Aho said a figure of $200,000 in the first year was discussed but this would have meant no donations were required for the following three years, equating to $50,000 a year.
The trust also had concerns over the plant’s effect on the environment, particularly the Waikato River and its tributaries.
Arapuni Milk has been in negotiations with the Trust on and off for much of the year.
The company has also held discussions with Raukawa Charitable Trust.
Raukawa had opposed the dairy plant citing concerns over inadequate consultation and consideration of cultural effects.
Negotiations between Raukawa and Arapuni Milk however had allayed these concerns and Raukawa now supports the plant, under certain conditions.
It is recognised that a memorandum of understanding will be signed between Raukawa and Arapuni Milk and the iwi group will be involved in the implemen- tation of the plant’s environmental management system and landscape plan. Raukawa will also receive monitoring reports on discharges from the site.
Mr McLaggan said Arapuni Milk would continue to work towards a memorandum of understanding with Ngati Koroki Kahukura Trust.
A decision on the resource consents for Arapuni Milk had not been announced as South Waikato News went to press.
It seems likely the plant will get the green light though a condition may be placed on the plant that it provides $50,000 for a charitable trust. A situation Mr McLaggan said he welcomed.