It's no wonder NZ Pure Blue wants to bottle and export water from the Blue Springs near Putaruru.

Tourists and locals come from near and far to enjoy the serenity of the area.

Visitor, Abbie Fliegel says she's never seen water so crisp and clean.

"It's so beautiful, it's so clear, it looks so fresh. I commented earlier during our hike, that man, I could just hop down there and take a drink of it."


Ms Fliegel can understand why locals may be upset about a water bottling company coming to take some of the water for export.

There may be economic benefits but in Putaruru opinion is split - unsure if the company should be allowed to take almost 7 million litres a day, for free.

"I am against it because I have seen nothing coming back into our district pertaining to the bottling of water. I think that somebody is making a lot of money out of it. I think that the money is going overseas which actually means we gain nothing," says Meg Wilson of Putaruru.

The bottling plant would be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and in NZ Pure Blue's application, they say they will create at least 200 full-time jobs which will bring money into the community.

"We support the project as long as the economic and employment benefits for the community are kept," says Jenny Shattock, South Waikato District Council Mayor.

Existing bottlers in Putaruru take approximately 1.5 million litres a day. But NZ Pure Blue want to take more than four times that.

"There's water in the blue spring, it's available for allocation so why shouldn't the putaruru community benefit from it," Mayor Shattock says.

But locals are sceptical they will see any benefits from the proposal.

"They've been in the community for some time, these bottling plants, but I've never seen anything that says they're giving money back. They don't employ a lot of people out of here, no matter what's said. No, I don't think it's right," Mrs Wilson says.

An online petition opposing NZ Pure Blue's application for a resource consent is hoping to get more than 50,000 signatures to deliver to the Waikato Regional Council.

Petition organisers say it's about protecting water resources and ensuring people's voices are heard.

The Raukawa Settlement Trust chair Vanessa Eparaima says the Trust is committed to ensuring the well-being of the environment and Te Puna is protected and are yet to decide their stance on another water bottling plant in the area.

"The issue of water extraction is a significant one for not only Raukawa, but all in the communities we share. Our priority is to consider all the key information so we are fully informed, and to meet with our people, before deciding on what position we will collectively take," Mrs Eparaima says.