Bringing in lawyers helped make for a smoother way forward for the Tararua District Council during its resource consent hearings for wastewater treatment plants for Eketahuna and Pahiatua.

But the decision to call in the lawyers didn't go down well with Morry Black who was representing Ngati Kahungunu at the hearings.

"We were trying to find a solution, then the council brings in a lawyer. We don't want to waste time," Mr Black said.

TDC needs wetlands for their wastewater discharges and Mr Black said his organisation, as an iwi authority, needed to be involved in the process.


"We want fairness and parity in a long term solution," he said.

"There should have been engagement with us earlier, but in regards to Pahiatua, they asked Rangitane to do the cultural impact on the river.

"Previously Kahungunu haven't had a relationship with the council, but now we're heading into our Treaty settlement there might be a change of attitude, especially with new mayor Tracey Collis showing the way."

The Eketahuna hearings have been adjourned for up to six months to enable council to provide an updated detailed assessment of environmental effects from both iwi, Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane, with ongoing involvement of representatives of both iwi in the final wetland design and operation.

Council has also to negotiate the sale and purchase of land from the Eketahuna Golf Club.
Council's chief executive Blair King said under Horizons Regional Council's One Plan discharges of wastewater means his council has no option than to look to providing wetland for discharge.

The district council has no other course but to comply as land-based discharge wasn't an option, but costs are going to be quite significant and councillor Shirley Hull asked how much it was going to cost ratepayers.

"The costs will be subject to the cost of land purchases and likely to be between $70,000 and $90,000 per wetland, with $40,000 for the areas to be lined with clay, " Mr King said.

When Mrs Hull queried the operating costs of the wetlands, Mr King said they would be relatively low.


"The maintenance would be a haircut with a hedge trimmer," he said.

"But our biggest headache will be the pukeko who can take 7000 plants out in an afternoon. They just pick up the plants, pull them out and then move on to the next one."