24 Apr 2016

Poroti Springs owners fight consent for water bottling factory

11:48 am 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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Photo: 123rf.com

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

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

Hapū spokesman Millan Ruka said the company had been sitting on the building consent and the water consent for years, while it tried 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 hapū.

But with the adjoining Mangakahia Road about to become state highway, Mr Ruka says the entire project should be re-assessed.

He said the consent and its traffic management report were well out of date and should not be renewed.

Mr Ruka said Poroti hapū 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 then sold the bore to a private company.

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