The creation of 20 jobs is not enough to soften what some perceive is the environmental blow of a new water bottling plant.

Zodiac Holdings has applied for resource consent to construct a water bottling plant at 649 Mangakahia Rd in Whangarei.

The company already has resource consent to take 1000 cubic metres of water daily from the nearby Poroti Springs, and this - rather than the construction of the plant - is what has locals up in arms.

Read more: Poroti Springs hapu not happy about bottling plant consent application


In that sense, the horse has bolted - any submission on the plant construction that focuses on water removal is probably, sadly, a waste of time, as the impact on the environment has already been assessed.

This latest resource consent application focuses on the bottling plant construction. And in some ways it is a re-application - the company already had resource consent to build a plant, but it lapsed.

So it has to apply again.

The proposed factory will be at 649 Mangakahia Rd, on State Highway 15.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) believes the plant will generate up to 80 (40 in and 40 out) truck movements each day.

The plant has been linked to enabling our deep water Northport to further maximise its potential, which suggests trucks will leave the plant and drive along SH15, on to Otaika Valley Rd, before turning right on to SH1 and heading for Northport.

This is Otaika Valley Rd - the road that, in winter especially, experiences a Groundhog Day nightmare that sees logging trucks regularly involved in accidents.

This is Otaika Valley Rd, where log truck "movements" are expected to hit 226 per day in the next 2.5 years.


Underscoring this, is the local resentment that the water that will be exported overseas can be siphoned off free from Whangarei, all while it is under claim from a local hapu. No ones owns the water, but does that make it right to give it away?

If this is okay, how come it's taken Auckland-based directors to recognise the potential for this lucrative business.

Are we stupid?

Not only are we giving Northland water away, we are giving it to a company owned by Aucklanders, to sell overseas.

As for Otaika Valley Rd, it has become a symbol of ineptitude, a symbol of the price - lives, essentially - we are prepared to pay when we make decisions influenced by commerce.

It seems, given the Otaika Valley Rd fiasco has been going on for a decade, that there is little that will stop the resource application for the bottling plant.

NZTA is happy with it - as long as the entrance way is improved and some other conditions are met, another 40 trucks per day on Otaika Valley Rd? No problem.

But already, this Poroti water issue has left a sour taste in the mouth of many.