Iwi are against wa­ter pro­posal

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - STUFF.CO.NZ

A South Waikato iwi has de­clined to sup­port the pro­posal of a New Zealand com­pany to take wa­ter from the Blue Springs.

Raukawa will not give writ­ten ap­proval for a re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion from NZ Pure Blue Springs Ltd.

In June, the bot­tling com­pany ap­plied for the right to take 6.9 mil­lion litres of wa­ter per day for ex­port from the Wai­hou River’s Blue Spring near Pu­taruru, South Waikato.

The Raukawa de­ci­sion has come after con­sul­ta­tion with marae, hapu and kauma¯ tua, and came after the Au­gust 16 de­ci­sion by the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil to put the ap­pli­ca­tion from NZ Pure Blue Springs Ltd on hold.

‘‘Our marae, uri and kauma¯ tua sent a very clear mes­sage that the ap­pli­ca­tion and its pro­posed ac­tiv­ity is not wanted in the area. We have re­ceived for­mal let­ters from marae seek­ing that we op­pose the ap­pli­ca­tion. Ac­cord­ingly, the RST [Raukawa Set­tle­ment Trust] board passed a res­o­lu­tion unan­i­mously to not give af­fected party ap­proval and to op­pose the ap­pli­ca­tion,’’ Vanessa Eparaima, RST chair­woman, said.

‘‘Raukawa be­lieve that any po­ten­tial ben­e­fits from this ap­pli­ca­tion do not out­weigh the sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts it will have on Te Puna. The con­ver­sa­tion around wa­ter is a very im­por­tant one for Raukawa. Wa­ter is a taonga that we have a duty to pro­tect for this and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.’’

Eparaima said while Raukawa sup­ported and en­cour­aged en­deav­ours which brought value to the re­gion and had po­ten­tial to bring jobs and eco­nomic devel­op­ment, the iwi could not sup­port ac­tiv­i­ties which had po­ten­tial to im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment and nat­u­ral taonga.

‘‘We have con­cerns with the po­ten­tial im­pact on wa­ter qual­ity, with the lev­els of wa­ter be­ing taken, and con­cern that as a na­tion we are not man­ag­ing wa­ter sus­tain­ably and ac­knowl­edg­ing its im­por­tance for all New Zealan­ders.’’

She said it was dis­ap­point­ing that Raukawa had been crit­i­cised by some for ful­fill­ing its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as kaiti­aki.

‘‘We have en­dured some crit­i­cism and un­war­ranted ac­cu­sa­tions sim­ply for ful­fill­ing our role as kaiti­aki.’’

The re­gional coun­cil said the ap­pli­ca­tion has for­mally been put on hold.

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