Hawke's Bay's drinking water is not good enough for China, with a shipment of NZ Miracle Water sent back to New Zealand.

Company spokesperson Louise Harvey said because the water was classed as artesian, as opposed to mineral water, it had strict purity requirements.

"To class water as spring or artesian for the New Zealand market the maximum level of the naturally occurring nitrite is 0.2mg/L, while the Chinese maximum level is 0.005mg/L," she said.

"Unfortunately the levels of nitrite were higher than the Chinese standard hence the product was returned."


She said no government agency was involved in the decision to return the shipment.

Testing was now being undertaken daily at its Elwood Rd bottling plant in Hastings, to ensure it met Chinese requirements.

"With correct testing and analysis the problem will not occur again."

Ms Harvey said it was just a temporary setback and the company was continuing to fill overseas orders.

The $20 million plant was opened in October, employing 26 people with the number expected to climb to 80 as production increased to its consented 900,000 cubic metres of water - 0.6 per cent of water allocated by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

At full production it would require 90 truck deliveries a day of Hawke's Bay-branded water to Napier Port.

It is a joint venture with local company Elwood Road Holdings, which possesses the Hawke's Bay Regional Council-granted resource consent for the bore.

Before the council increased the bore's consented amount it was run at double the amount applied for, for 72 hours.


Testing of six neighbouring bores during the period recorded no change in water supply.

The testing process appeared to have improved Miracle Water's supply - at the end of the testing period water pressure at its bore increased almost 50 per cent.

At the official opening by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Bill English, Miracle chief executive Xinghong Ju said Hawke's Bay water was chosen because it was pure, had low mineral content and tasted good.

China stipulates filtration as a prerequisite for bottled spring or artesian water, no matter how pure it may be at the source. NZME