A marae neighbouring land where a gigantic broiler farm was planned by Chicken distributor Tegel has reacted with delight to hearing the proposal has been rejected.
The company planned to build the giant farm in Northland but was turned down by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) on Monday. It was declined on the basis the regional and district councils opposed the farm and it was doubtful whether Tegel could get the necessary resource consents.
Kāpehu marae chair Professor Margaret Mutu told Newstalk ZB this morning word of the decision spread quickly and the majority felt a common emotion of relief.
"We're hugely relieved," she said.
"This was effectively going to drive us off our ancestral land.
"The smell that was going to come out of this farm would have been unliveable. It's also very, very dangerous in terms of health."
Tegel had applied for resource consents to set up a broiler chicken farm at Arapohue, near Dargaville, with a capacity to stock up to 1.3 million chickens.
However, Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage and Associate Finance Minister David Clark declined the consent under the Overseas Investment Act.
The porposal had been vociferously opposed by many in the Kaipara community and beyond. Public meeting were held with large turnouts and about 80 people protested outside the Auckland Tegel head office in August.
Mutu said the marae and other opponents had done a lot of research into the proposal.
"We went through the international peer-reviewed scientific literature. What is very, very clear - internationally - is that these things are a threat to the health, not only of the workers but of all of the community that is anywhere near it."
She said the marae risked losing some of the older members of the community and younger people would not have been able to visit the marae.
"If your lung capacity is already compromised then you will pick up the huge number of bio-aerosols that emit from these very large poultry operations."
Mutu credited MP Kelvin Davis in particular for the decision.
"When he saw how close the thing was to our meeting house and to our urupa, our cemetery, he was horrified. He said 'I'll go and see what I can do for you'. And this is the result."
She also thanked the media for highlighting the issues around the proposal.
"You guys were really great. We went and asked for your help and to broadcast the stuff we were doing and all of the media was really, really good so we jsut want to thank you guys as well."
Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage and Associate Finance Minister David Clark declined the consent under the Overseas Investment Act.
"Minister Clark and I considered that the land sale was not likely to result in substantial and identifiable benefits to New Zealand, so we declined the application," Sage said.
"Tegel's application was declined because of the considerable uncertainty about whether the company would obtain the resource consents it required for its proposed Arapohue broiler chicken farm investment.
"Both Kaipara District and Northland Regional Council staff recommended the consents be declined and the hearing process has been suspended."