Trust ap­peals con­sents

Doubt about fu­ture of Ara­puni Milk

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By MATHEW GROCOTT

Doubt has been cast over the fu­ture of the planned milk pow­der fac­tory at Ara­puni.

Ngati Koroki Kahukura Trust has ap­pealed the re­source con­sents granted by En­vi­ron­ment Waikato and South Waikato District Coun­cil.

South Waikato District Mayor Neil Sin­clair said the ap­peal could re­sult in the fac­tory’s back­ers Ara­puni Milk Ltd pulling out.

Mr Sin­clair ac­knowl­edged the trust had ‘‘ a demo­cratic right’’ to ap­peal but said that could cost the South Waikato em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. The plant would bring about 70 full-time jobs to Ara­puni as well as work dur­ing con­struc­tion.

‘‘The ap­peal process is a lengthy one and can take up to a year to re­solve,’’ he said.

‘‘I un­der­stand that the milk fac- tory was al­ready un­der a tight con­struc­tion time line and the ap­peal process sim­ply would mean that the fac­tory would not be ready for pro­duc­tion in the spring of 2011 (as planned).

‘‘As mayor I am sorry that there could be move­ment away from the Ara­puni site.’’

In the ap­peal lodged with the district coun­cil, NKK trustee Steven Wil­son listed 10 rea­sons for the iwi’s ap­peal, in­clud­ing that changes in per­son­nel at Ara­puni Milk had made ne­go­ti­a­tions dif­fi­cult and the trust did not feel it had been ad­e­quately con­sulted.

‘‘Our view is that the de­ci­sion has not recog­nised and pro­vided for our cul­ture and tra­di­tions and our re­la­tion­ship with our an­ces­tral lands, wa­ter etc,’’ he wrote.

The ap­peal claims the 45m tall dairy fac­tory would be vis­i­ble from one of the iwi’s marae across the Waikato River.

‘‘This is not some­thing that we as a tribe have had to deal with be­fore and our marae are renowned for their quiet, peace­ful am­bi­ence,’’ the ap­peal said.

Mr Wil­son also noted con­cerns over in­creased traf­fic vol­umes, dis­tur­bance dur­ing con­struc­tion and po­ten­tial fu­ture con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions to draw wa­ter for the plant from a bore.

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