Councillors mixed on water bottling moratorium

By Alice Lock

1 comment

Hawke's Bay Regional Councillors share mixed opinions when it comes to water bottling consents and asking for a moratorium.

The previous councils chair, Fenton Wilson, said it was illegal to call for a moratorium under the current rules of the Resource Management Act.

"The council do not have the luxury of picking and choosing the winners and losers of water bottling. I signed up to the council to make decisions and it is silly stuff trying to call for an moratorium."

Ngaruroro councillor, Peter Beaven, also said it was illegal to call for a moratorium but if it was not he would have wanted to.

"Our staff tell me there is no mechanism to review or put on hold once issued except for breaches of consent conditions. So my view is that any further consent applications need to become a publicly notified process so the public can express their concerns."

Hastings councillor, Rick Barker, said he entertained the idea of a moratorium but also spoke about making consent process applications clear and transparent.

"No one sees what is happening at the moment and if we come to a conclusion on what we are seeking to do and get clarity then I would like to have one.

At the moment no one knows if it is warded on science or whether it actually causes issues."

Hastings councillor, Rex Graham, said he would like to call for one, as he thinks the council and community need time to understand and debate the concerns.

"I am worried we do not have time and we need to ask questions like how it will effect the region and should we be charging. We need to stop giving consent while our heads get around it."

Napier councillor, Neil Kirton, said he would also like to call for a moratorium, as he said the whole issue of selling water in the fashion they were is "repugnant".

"Sadly HBRC have little latitude to deny the consents, so I am interested to see if the cost of water management is recovered. I want to know if foreign companies pay the general rates all Hawke's Bay property pay, as if they don't they are being subsidised by locals."

Both Paul Bailey and Debbie Hewitt were undecided about calling for a moratorium.

Mrs Hewitt said she had not thought about it and needed to have a clear understanding of a moratorium before she would agree or disagree to one.

"Few promises have been made with not enough information so I am very cautious."

Mr Bailey said he had not been planning on calling for one but he could be swayed either way if someone did decide to call for one.

Alan Dick and Tom Belford were unable to be contacted.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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