Auckland siphoning Waikato’s future
Federated Farmers is concerned that the Auckland Watercare firm’s application to take water from the Waikato will see lost opportunities for economic growth in the Waikato.
“This part of the Waikato River is already nearly full allocated with water takes, at 10 percent of its one in 5 year low flow (Q5), so if this application is approved, Waikato ratepayers lose out,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers provincial president for Waikato.
“Watercare are asking for a further 200,000 cubic meters a day on top of the 150,000 they already take, to supply a city that doesn’t pay rates in the Waikato. Our council needs to be thinking about the long game here and what benefits there are in giving away Waikato’s resources, which are needed to maintain and build Waikato’s economy. If this consent proceeds under the current rules it is going to strangulate Waikato’s ability to grow.
“Right now, under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, we are meant to be sitting down with our regional councils and collaborating on setting values and objectives for our local waterways. Yet before we have had the chance, a significant percentage of our resource could be supplied to another region entirely.
“To properly understand the impact this take would have on the local economy and environment, the council need to do the ground work before giving away our resources. Under variation 6 in the District Plan, the council would have to take water away from its ratepayers to supply Auckland the extra 20 percent of the current take it is asking for.
“Auckland has long been facing resourcing and infrastructure issues due to its growing population, but why should Waikato lose out as a result - If Auckland is expected to grow by 800,000 people in the next 30 years they need to come up with a long term and sustainable option rather than leaning on their neighbours,” concluded Mr Houghton