Do­na­tion agree­able

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By MATHEW GROCOTT

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.

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