Ashburton District Council’s decision to drop the sale of public land including the right to bottle and sell billions of litres of water is a win for the Ashburton community, the Green Party said today.
“Canterbury’s water has been polluted and drained by the rapid expansion of the dairy industry in the region, making bore water undrinkable in some areas and most rivers unsafe for swimming. So it beggars belief that the council would even consider selling a plot of land with resource consent to bottle pristine artesian water that should belong to the community,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“Everything about this backroom deal was flawed – from the lack of consultation to the secrecy around who was to buy the land. Ashburton District Council did not consult with the local community or Ngāi Tahu about their own water.
“We’re glad that the Council has finally seen the light and have backed down from this ridiculous deal. If they have to sell public land, which is always debatable, it could at least be for something that is endorsed by and benefits the whole community, not just those who stand to make a quick buck.
“Those who profit from the use of water, like those who bottle and sell it as a premium product, should pay for the privilege. Flogging it off to the highest bidder is not a sustainable or even sensible attitude to take towards our water.
“We congratulate the Ashburton community for having fought so hard for their clean water. We are likely to see more of this kind of action being taken by communities trying to protect their water in the face of those who think water is purely for economic gain.
“Water is a precious resource, and future generations deserve clean and plentiful water as past generations have enjoyed,” said Ms Delahunty.