24 Apr 2016

Water bottling project 'should be reassessed'

3:30 pm on 24 April 2016

The Māori owners of Poroti Springs near Whangarei are urging the council not to renew a building consent for a water bottling factory over the road.

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Auckland developer Zodiac Holdings has resource consent to take water from the aquifer that feeds Poroti Springs. Photo: 123RF

The consent granted to Zodiac Holdings, now called New Zealand Spring Water, is due to expire next Saturday.

Zodiac had gained consent to take water from the aquifer that fed the springs, but never used it.

Hapu spokesman Millan Ruka said the company had been sitting on the building consent and the water consent for years while trying to find overseas buyers.

He said it was even able to get approval from the council last year to double the size of the project without notifying the hapu.

But with the adjoining Mangakahia Road about to become state highway, Mr Ruka said the entire project should be reassessed.

He said the consent and its traffic management report were well out of date and should not be renewed.

Millan Ruka said Poroti hapu remained implacably opposed to the water-bottling proposal, because of the impact it could have on their springs.

He said the council used to own the bore now owned by New Zealand Spring Water, but stopped using it after it ran the springs dry one summer.

He said it was inexplicable that the council had then sold the bore to a private company.

Zodiac Holdings director Ian Thompson, an Auckland businessman, would not comment on whether the company planned to apply to renew its consent.