June 20, 2018
Green hands tied on Otakiri Springs
Greens co-leader James Shaw says a rewrite of the Overseas Investment Act is the only thing that will stop New Zealand's pure water resources being snapped up by foreign buyers.
Green MP and Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage has come under fire for signing off on the sale of land at Otakiri Springs near Whakatāne to a subsidiary of China's Nongfu Springs.
The company intends to expand an existing bottling plant so it can export a billion litres of water a year.
Maori environmentalist and former Bay of Plenty regional councillor Raewyn Bennett says the Green Party has gone from kaitiaki to kūpapa, throwing its principles overboard.
But Mr Shaw says the responsible Ministers had no room to move.
"The Overseas Investment Act that Eugenie is operating under as the minister has no grounds to consider the environment and no grounds to consider Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the decision making of the minister. So she kind of fought it for months but ultimately she has to follow the law as it's currently written," he says.
Environment Minister David Parker is overseeing an extensive programme to change laws to allow for better protection of water.
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