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Dump Fears Bring New Prison Worries For Residents

Dump Fears Bring New Prison Worries For North Waikato Residents


13 December 2000

North Waikato residents, already fighting in the Environment Court against a company which wants to put New Zealand's largest waste dump on the banks of the Waikato River, have been horrified to learn of plans to put a men's prison in their area as well.

They say the spectre of the possible dump is chasing away buyers for their properties and forcing their neighbours to sell to other unwelcome users.

The Corrections Department late last night sent a special night courier to ten North Waikato families living near the projected EnviroWaste dump.

In the package was a letter saying that two sites proposed as their new men's prison in South Auckland are both adjacent to the dump proposal as well.

One proposed site is about a thousand acres of Tainui land, drained former Whangamarino wetlands, given to the tribe as part of the raupatu settlement. Rank and file Tainui iwi say they are angry at the prospect of losing this land by sale. It has been owned by Tainui, leased to Genesis Power and sub-leased to dairy farmers and to the Meremere drag strip.

Neighbors say Mike Finlayson on Hall Road, the seller of the other parcel of land to the prison, sold because the dump closed off his options at a time when he needed to retire.

His land had been on the market for years and was not selling, despite being an excellent farm and there being vigorous farm sales all around, they said.

"I can understand Mike selling, because he is in despair over what to do with his farm, with a dump trying to establish next door. That's similar to the reason my partner gave up his retirement dream and sold out to me last December," said Lyn Milnes, who owns a 220 acre farm less than a kilometre from both projected developments.

"The dump people have said they chose this area partly because there were few people around. That means, few to fight back," she said. "They have said it's almost impossible to site a dump in Auckland these days because of the opposition."

"Now with the prison coming, it's like a pack of wolves moving in because they can smell the scent of blood," she said.

"I feel very let down. These Auckland companies have come in here and shattered twenty year friendships," said David Saxton, who runs a venison and beef export farm of 600 acres very close to both sites. Since the dump announced its purposes, my neighbour I have known for twenty years doesn't wave to me on the road any more."

"Well, they don't understand the strength of feeling on this issue in the neighborhood. They are going to strike problems," he said.

Wendy Finlayson (no relation to Mike Finlayson above) runs an eco-tourist guided horse-trek business which passes over scenic countryside on three neighbouring properties of the proposed landfill, and now has to face the prospect of maybe passing by a prison as well.

"What will happen to our riverside walkway - NZ's national walking track, the long Track which is to run from Cape Reinga to Bluff? How ridiculous, to have it going past a dump and a men's prison," she said.

" We have spent our energy and our resources on a huge environmental issue. We have been doing our utmost to protect the river, which is Auckland's future drinking water. And now we are being kicked while we are down," she said.

-------------------------------

CONTACTS

Ms Lyn Milnes 07 826 3080

Ms Wendy Finlayson 07 826 3458 (no relation to Mike Finlayson mentioned above)

David Saxton 07 826 3458

William Simpson, Manager, Huakina Development Trust (Tainui environmental arm), Box 319, Pukekohe

Okarea marae c/- Maario Taituha Patrick, 18 Caesar Roose PLace, Huntly

Robert Tukiri, 8 Bond Street, Huntly (representing another marae)

Martin Falwasser, McGovern Road, RD1, Te Kauwhata (representing another marae)


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