Green MP Catherine Delahunty joined Ashburton locals today calling on the Ashburton District Council to stop the sale of land including a resource consent to extract 40 billion litres of artesian water for a water bottling plant.
The plant will bottle pure, fresh artesian water from an aquifer near Ashburton, while many rural Cantabrians have to drink water from bores that are so polluted, their unborn and formula-fed babies are at risk from blue baby syndrome.
“A water bottling plant in drought-prone south Canterbury, where Ashburton residents are told to conserve water year round and where rural water supplies are contaminated with nitrate pollution, makes absolutely no sense,” says Ms Delahunty.
“The Council’s plan to refill the aquifer with water from the Hakatere/Ashburton River is absurd. The river is not only over-allocated already, the water is polluted. Sending that back into a pristine aquifer is ridiculous.
“Tangata whenua have rights to water under the Treaty of Waitangi. However, Ngāi Tahu have not even been consulted in this process.
“The Government says that no one owns the water, yet a private company can bottle and sell the water without having to pay anything other than the price of the resource consent. The Green Party wants to see a charge on water, because those that use this precious resource for private profit should pay for this privilege,” says Ms Delahunty.