NZ Pure Blue Springs Limited’s consent application to take water for bottling purposes from the Blue Springs has formally been put on hold, says Waikato Regional Council’s resource use directorate.
The company has been advised that, in relation to the application, the Raukawa Settlement Trust and a number of affiliated parties are deemed to be “affected persons” for the purposes of section 95E of the Resource Management Act.
This follows receipt of information and advice from Raukawa that they consider water within the Blue Spring “…is pristine, and Te Puna is the place the water is most sacred and its healing powers most powerful, both spiritually and physically”.
Raukawa has also advised that taking water directly from the Blue Spring will adversely affect Raukawa via “diminishing the mauri, wairua and mana of Te Puna, a waterbody of high significance and whakapapa to Raukawa” and “an erosion of the relationship Raukawa uri (descendants) have with Te Puna as kaitiaki”.
The applicant has therefore been advised that in order for the council to consider having a non-notified process for the application, the council will require written approval from Raukawa and the affiliated parties it represented. The applicant has been asked to provide these approvals by 16 October.
In the meantime, the application has formally been put on hold. Should the approvals not be forthcoming, the council will then decide the next steps. This includes whether the application will be notified to affected persons (allowing them to make submissions) or publicly notified (allowing the general public to make submissions). It’s unclear when such decisions will be made.
The council’s acting industry and infrastructure manager Mark Brockelsby said: “All decisions regarding this application will be made independently by our resource use directorate applying the relevant matters sets out in the Resource Management Act.
“The council is committed to following proper process at all stages in the handling of this application and we will provide further public updates as appropriate.”