August 01, 2021
Ngati Awa fight on Otakiri moves to Appeal Court
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has been granted leave to appeal a High Court decision upholding the grant of consent to expand a water bottling plant at Otākiri near Whakatane.
Creswell New Zealand Limited, a subsidiary of Chinese soft drinks giant Ngonfu Spring, has consent to extract and bottle more than one billion cubic metres of water annually from the Otākiri aquifer.
Ngāti Awa chief executive Leonie Simpson says the ease with which Creswell secured the consent showed up gaps in New Zealand’s laws, particularly as the resource will only get more scarce.
She says Ngāti Awa feels the lower courts didn’t understand the issues of tikanga and kawa put before them.
“I could say it this way – we’re speaking Māori and they’re speaking English and they’re not understanding us. That is concerning. We are certainly guaranteed rights and responsibilities as the tangata whenua under Te Tiriti o Waitangi so our expectation is a reasonable expectation. This is Aotearoa. We are the tangata whenua. They need to do better,” Ms Simpson says.
She says drink bottles are a major factor in plastic pollution which is now affecting kaimoana in the Ngati Awa’s Bay of Plenty rohe.
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