Petition calling for water export legislation launched after West Coast plan revealed
The thought of billions of litres of New Zealand water being shipping overseas does not sit well with one Southland woman.
Jen Banje has started a petition calling for a halt on all water exports until acceptable legislation is in place "to protect this precious resource from private profiteering".
Banje launched the petition on Thursday a day after plans were revealed to pipe glacial water from a dam at Tuning Fork Creek, on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park in Westland, directly onto ships headed overseas.
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Branje, together with her group Bung the Bore, gained public attention in mid-2016 after successfully halting negotiations between Ashburton District Council and NZ Pure Blue to extract billions of litres of water from aquifers beneath the town.
With the general election months away, Banje hoped her "Save Our Water NZ" petition would mean people took notice of water exportation.
"Water will be a major issue at this year's election and we want it legislated and protected."
Private land at Neil's Beach, a tiny community beneath the national park, would effectively become a water-export facility if Okuru Enterprises' plans went ahead, with billions of litres of water each year piped down a remote mountainside and onto waiting ships.
Okuru Enterprises, a consortium of West Coast locals, has many of the resource consents needed for the project, including permission to take and export 800,000 tonnes of water – about 800 million litres – each month.
A hearing next month will decide if the project gets other needed resource consents, including permission to build its storage facility at Neil's Beach.