The company behind a controversial application to take 6.9 million litres of water a day from Putaruru's Blue Spring to send offshore has withdrawn its application.
NZ Pure Blue Springs Ltd told the Waikato Regional Council this morning that it would not be going ahead with the resource consent application, a council spokesman confirmed.
The application has been pulled just prior the October 16 deadline when the company was asked for written approval from Raukawa, deemed to be an affected party, in order for the consent to be non-notified.
Raukawa had already confirmed it would not give written approval. Raukawa Settlement Trust chairwoman Vanessa Eparaima said at the time that it had sent a very clear message that the application or its proposed activity was not wanted in the area.
The decision to withdraw the application reflected a broad opposition to the proposal, she said today.
"Raukawa formed the view that the potential benefits of the proposal did not outweigh the significant impacts the application would have on Te Puna.
"The conversation around water is a very important one for Raukawa. Water is a taonga that we have a duty to protect for this and future generations."
Eparaima said while Raukawa supported and encouraged endeavours which brought value to the region and its communities and which had potential to bring much-needed jobs and economic development, it could not support those which came at the expense of the environment and natural taonga.
"We had major concerns with the potential impact upon Te Puna with the levels of water being taken, and concern that as a nation we are not managing water sustainably, and access to clean and safe water and its importance for all New Zealanders.
"Our marae, uri and Kaumātua sent a very clear message that the application and its proposed activity was not wanted in the area. The decision by NZ Pure Blue Springs Limited showed the company had heard these concerns and the strong opposition across the community.
In June the Herald revealed the company had lodged a resource consent application to Waikato Regional Council to extract 6.9 million litres a day from the Waihou River.
The company, owned by a majority of overseas investors, had ambitions to be the largest bottling plant in the Southern Hemisphere and applied for a 15-year consent with the hope of opening the bottling plant by 2019.
South Waikato District Council supported the plan because of the economic benefits it believed this would bring to the region. The company had also promised to donate money to a community trust.
However, as public opposition around the proposal grew, internal communication from within the district council and released to the Herald under the Official Information Act showed management also had doubts about how realistic the proposal was.
An online petition opposing NZ Pure Blue's application for a resource consent also gained more than 70,000 signatures.
South Waikato District Council mayor Jenny Shattock said the council was disappointed it had fallen over as one of its main focuses was on growing the economy and creating new jobs.
"As a district that is growing both in terms of business and population, our council will continue to look for, invite and facilitate business initiatives to establish themselves in the South Waikato - we are central with strong road and rail links, have available and affordable industrial land, abundant resources, good infrastructure and a great workforce. The South Waikato also offers un-paralleled lifestyle to match great business location. It's why we should be any business developer's first choice."
This is the second deal that has fallen over for the company which first attempted to purchase the right to extract and export 1.4 billion litres of pure, artesian water a year in Ashburton in 2016 following public backlash.
The Herald is seeking comment from NZ Pure Blue Springs Ltd.