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Debbie Ngarewa-Packer Enters New Member’s Bill To Stop New Commercial Water Bottling Plants

Today Te Pāti Māori Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, following Labour’s refusal to back her seabed mining bill, has entered a new environmental Member’s Bill into the Ballot, the Resource Management (Prohibition on Extraction of Freshwater for On-selling) Amendment Bill, which would stop the sale of freshwater to uphold the rangatiratanga of Tangata Whenua and protect freshwater aquifers and groundwater from commercial water bottling.

The Bill will keep freshwater safe from pollution, contamination, and over-extraction. It achieves this by making the extraction of freshwater for the purpose of on-selling in a packaged form a prohibited activity.

“As I introduce this Bill to protect our wai Māori (freshwater), my whanaunga in Whanganui are fighting to protect their awa from a plan to establish a water bottling plant to extract and sell 750,000 litres a week of groundwater from a bore near the Whanganui River” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“Hapū, iwi and local communities have been resisting commercial water bottling consents for many years, including Ngā Hapū o Tūpoho, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu.

“Protecting water quality and quantity in our aquifers and groundwater is important for public health. Around 40 percent of people in Aotearoa rely on groundwater for their drinking water. Aquifers also feed wetlands, lowland rivers and lakes.

“Groundwater is a tāonga protected by Article 2 of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Tangata Whenua have proprietary, customary, and decision-making rights over freshwater - hapū and iwi were guaranteed ownership of and rangatiratanga over aquifers and groundwater resource. This Bill would uphold their rangatiratanga.

“As kaitiaki, Te Pāti Māori will continue to lead the debate on protecting our environment from corporate greed and restoring the mauri of our taiao for future generations” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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