Protesters seek halt to water exports

6:03 pm on 9 March 2019

The organiser of a rally in Christchurch over expansion plans by a Chinese-owned water bottling company says the government needs to stop water being bottled and sent overseas.

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Photo: 123rf

Cloud Ocean Water has approval to extract more than a billion litres of water from a Belfast bore for its second bottling plant.

Organiser Scott Esdaile said the rally in the city today attracted up to 5000 people. Protesters marched under the banner of Save our Water.

"It was amazing, I am blown away by the number of people that actually have shown up.

"I'm so thankful for everybody who came out today and stood and walked beside me."

He said they wanted a stop to water bottling altogether, and to foreign ownership of the resource.

Mr Esdaile said water needs to be protected for future generations of New Zealanders.

"We need to be able to have a reliable, sustainable water source. We need to start looking after us before we start looking after everybody else," he said.

He said if the government continued to turn a blind-eye to public concern and did not change the Resource Management Act then more protests would follow.

"We will do it on a bigger scale and we will bring maybe the city to its knees and we will stop the inner city completely and if that's what they want then that's what they will get.

"We need support from our government," he said.

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