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Hikoi braves rain and wind and storms council

Hikoi braves rain and wind and storms council chambers

The Hikoi organised to protest EnviroWaste's plans for a huge MegaDump near Meremere braved rain and wind, marching 50 kilometres from the proposed site at Huntly Downs valley all the way to Ngarawhahia Council chambers.

The Hikoi marched through Rangiriri, Huntly and Taupiri, in a seven and a half hour trek across the Waikato that saw its numbers swell from 20 to 200. Led by the "Dump Metrowater" Fire engine of Auckland's Water Pressure Group, it united Tainui Maori with local environmentalists, the Green Party, the Socialist Workers Organisation and individuals angry at the plan to build Aotearoa's largest Megadump 500 metres from the Waikato river.

There were emotive scenes as the Hikoi entered Ngarawhahia Council Chambers, where Waikato District Mayor Angus Mc Donald and his cohorts faced a roasting from the determined and furious marchers. "Once this Dump goes through, there is no going back. Future generations will look back on this Council and ask the question- why? Who were these men who allowed the river to be poisoned? You already have a disaster on your hands with the leachate entering the river from Huntly. " said Hikoi organiser Wendy Finlayson, who is taking the Council to court in Hamilton on September the 4th. "It's apparent you have ignored the wishes of the people of the Waikato", added Penny Bright of the Water Pressure Group- "and when politicians ignore the wishes of the people, then the only language they understand is when we take matters into our own hands. If this Dump is not cancelled, civil disobedience and direct action is both justified and necessary" she said to rousing cheers.

There were 324 submissions against the MegaDump, and only four for. Campaigners fear, however, that the forces of profit have had more influence over the local council than the concerns of the people. EnviroWaste and its backers, Fulton Hogan and the Shell Oil Company, stand to make a $2 billion fortune from their "waste management" operation if this MegaDump goes through. The Hikoi was adamant that this was a battle of people against profit, planet against pollution, the beginning of a united struggle against some very powerful interests. They were also shocked at the local council's lack of consultation, sharing of information or regard for local democracy, and in angry scenes, demanded that a local referendum be held to overturn the Councils decision. One councillor declined, patronising those present with the comment- "Look, it's you guys who make this waste in the first place"...

The Dump the Dump campaign is now looking for wider support, especially in Auckland whose major water supply pipeline will come just 2km downstream from the Dump in 2002. The Socialist Workers Organisation in Hamilton and Auckland is organising campaign stalls in the city and Hamilton, and appeals to those concerned across New Zealand to support this campaign, and to mobilise for the legal proceedings against Waikato District Council in Hamilton on September the 4th. "Our elders teach us that the rivers and the earth are our treasures" said one tainui woman- "we are given guardianship over them to keep them for the little ones, our children. With what you fellas are proposing, we might as well lay all our kids on the ground, and dump the rubbish and chemical waste all over them. You ain't heard the last from us!"

"Shell, Shell- go to hell! And take your stinkin' dump as well!"

for further information contact

Wendy Finlayson (07) 8263458 email : oxlea@xtra.co.nz

Joe Carolan, SWO Waikato 025 6048955 email : socialistwaikato@hotmail.com

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