500 signatures reached
To: Northland Regional Council, Far North District Council, MPs, Business and Industry
Stop the industrial water consents!
We call on Northland Regional Council to:
1. Stop the allocation of all water consents until there is proper public consultation.
2. Fully protect citizens', residents', tangata whenua and communities' human rights to (a) maintain a healthy aquifer, (b) access safe drinking water, and (c) participate meaningfully in decision-making which affects us; and in particular:
3. Ensure such protection be given primacy as against profit-seeking business, industry and private third party MWWUG applicant interests.
Why is this important?
In 2016, some private business owners (including industrial horticulturalists) began applying to Northland Regional Council (NRC) for resource consents to extract water from our aquifer in Te Hiku.[1,2,3]
Together known as the Motutangi-Waiharara Water Users Group (MWWUG) they have applied to pump up to 2-million-cubic-metres a year from the Aupouri aquifer, north of Kaitaia. By 'limited' notification on 27 October 2017, NRC announced it was considering these applications.
The scale and the ramifications of the proposal from the MWWUG greatly concerns those of us who have been attempting to protect our underground water supply for several decades.
We are very concerned that consent decisions will be based largely on financial and profit-making concerns, and fail to give proper regard to important environmental, social and cultural values of this community resource.
The industrial avocado industry has been described as a ‘gold rush’, with the perception that NRC allocates water rights on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. Such an approach is incompatible with the required “sustainable” management of our precious freshwater resources.
Expert peer reviewed hydrology advice says the overall take could lower water tables in some areas on the peninsula by about 2 metres at peak times, and that in turn could affect existing bores and wells.
The Northland Environmental Protection Society president Fiona Furrell has said there was insufficient data or monitoring of the aquifer, to allow much more than guesswork on the likely effects of the water-take. She said the greatest danger was salination as the aquifer came under pressure, which would ruin Aupouri's many tiny lakes and wetlands.
NRC’s MWWUG aquifer resource consent decision-making process so far has demonstrably failed to meet its good governance and decision-making obligations, especially with respect to tangata whenua/whānau, hapū and iwi.
We call on NRC to STOP this consents process unless and until all affected ratepayers, tangata whenua and wider community have had the meaningful opportunity to effectively participate in proper, good faith consultation with NRC about these applications - including comprehensive, transparent engagement about the full effects and implications of the proposed freshwater extraction for (1) our natural environment, (2) our human rights to access safe drinking water, and (3) community well-being.
We also call on all responsible authorities, elected officials, business and industry and wider civil society to actively support and encourage NRC to do what's right to protect our aquifer, our human rights to water and democratic decision-making.
We are in an age of unprecedented and converging climate, economic, geo-political and other crises which threaten habitat collapse, societal implosion and humanity's very existence. Without water, there is no Life.
Therefore, Aotearoa must build local resilience. To achieve this, we must restore and protect our freshwater ways and systems which are under relentless exploitation pressure from business and industry, and in steep decline.
All responsible authorities are also obliged to uphold their legal and moral obligations to its citizens and to the natural environment - under Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840, the Local Government Act 2002, Resource Management Act 1991, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 and other internationally recognized standards.
For more campaign information, see:
♣ Our "Aquifer Protection Action!" page at https://www.catherinemikenn.com/copy-of-community-action; and
♣ Our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1105337399603221/
1 - Limited Notification - Motutangi-Waiharara Water Users Group (MWWUG) https://www.nrc.govt.nz/Consents/Notified-resource-consents/limited-notification-motutangi-waiharara-water-users-group-mwwug/
2 - Water use worries http://www2.nzherald.co.nz/northland-age/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503399&objectid=11947026
3, 4, 5 - Water worries as avocado industry spreads to Far North
How it will be delivered
Campaigners (including our affiliated 'submitters') will present our petition during their oral interventions to the NRC MWWUG resource consent hearing panel (NRC have yet to confirm hearing dates).
We also intend to email our petition to our local MPs, Councillors and other elected officials.