New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.
“The Government needs to resolve the issue of water rights and privileges as soon as possible for the benefit of the whole country. The bottom line is that water shouldn’t be owned by anyone.
“When you allow companies to take enormous volumes of water from local springs and pilfer local history and legends that don’t belong to them, you create the conditions where grievance is inevitable.
“It appears this is the case with Zodiac Holdings – New Zealand Spring Water in Maungatapere, near Whangarei. Not only is the water disappearing but they have also stolen the hapū’s cultural and historic intellectual property.
“We welcome business investment in Te Tai Tokerau but that has to be tempered with community needs and cultural integrity.
“In the case of Zodiac local hapū should first agree to any use of their intellectual property. If they are using the label “Thunder Mountain” referring to the tupuna mountain Whatitiri they should have sought approval from Te Uri Roroi; Te Parawhau me Te Mahurehure ki ngā hapū of Whatitiri o Te Tai Tokerau.
“The way forward is to first ensure that the springs can sustain a natural flow; that domestic water is allocated to communities, protecting all New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water; and only then granting commercial allocations from what is left.
“It is essential that key values of local hapū are kept front and centre to avoid potential grievance,” says Kelvin Davis.