‘Not just iwi’ object to plans

Perception the key say councillors in debate about treated wastewater.

Perception the key say councillors in debate about treated wastewater.

Iwi are not alone in having reservations about treated wastewater being applied to land used for producing food, says tangata whenua representative LeRoy Pardoe.

Non-Maori objected too, he told Gisborne District Council’s wastewater management committee, so that perception was not correct.

But Mr Pardoe said he didn’t know if that was enough to stop the continued investigation of the opportunity.

The committee had before it a report updating work regarding alternative use and disposal (AUD) investigations.

The water might be 98 percent pure, Mr Pardoe said, but the target was 100 percent.

“The science is probably still out on the difference between 98 percent and 100 percent.”

The reality was that there was a shortage of water in the district.

“It is not just iwi, and not all of iwi, and we will never get 100 percent of everyone agreeing with it.

“Equally it is not going to be compulsory that you have to use this water. For those of us who do need water, we have nowhere else to go.”

Mr Pardoe said he was speaking on behalf of Rongowhakaata and other iwi land blocks.

“I look forward to this coming to a conclusion so we can develop our land and contribute more to the local economy.”

Councillor Shannon Dowsing said the perception around the use of treated wastewater for irrigation had to be changed so that the district had sufficient water.

The aquifer was over-prescribed by two-thirds.

“We do not have a solution.

“If the aquifer recharge trial is not a success, we won’t be looking at this as an option, but a solution.”

Larry Foster said perception, as in perception of wastewater, was a key word.

There could be a perception the water was contaminated, or a perception that it was not, “from the transformation it has undergone’’.

There were international studies into water quality and people suffering from water shortages who used wastewater.

The perception of (using) wastewater was “overridden” in countries with a reasonable supply of alternative water.

But with climate change and water issues, ‘‘it’s a grey area”.

Other countries with water shortages were using wastewater.

“There’s got to be some conclusion that recycled waste is okay to use.”

Perception changed as demand for water grew.

“If we had a drought this year, that perception would change dramatically.”

Tangata whenua representative Pene Brown questioned the level of consultation.

“It’s just been chucked at us quickly,’’ he said.

Council needed a similar level of stakeholder engagement as Activate Tairawhiti, “to make sure all the people get over the line”.

It was not the role of the wastewater management committee to change the mind of voters, “but to see the best possible proposal is presented”.

Mr Brown said specific legislation was required for Tairawhiti.

It would be difficult expecting everybody to operate within the same Resource Management Act.

A ginger group comprising iwi, council and users was needed to move the project significantly.

He was concerned the next meeting was not scheduled until September.

Committee chairman Bill Burdett said that if the wastewater was 98 percent “pure”, there would still be a question among Maori whether the water should go out to sea, or on to productive land.

Who would make that decision? he said.

Mr Brown said it was not a fair question. It was a matter which should be considered “after the work that is being done”.

Instead, iwi were being presented with a black and white scenario “as is, there are only two possibilities”.

Iwi were sufficiently mature and sophisticated to learn about factors such as levels of clarification and UV.

Maori were willing to look at the science and then make a decision.

Mr Burdett said he was not meaning to be provocative.

Iwi are not alone in having reservations about treated wastewater being applied to land used for producing food, says tangata whenua representative LeRoy Pardoe.

Non-Maori objected too, he told Gisborne District Council’s wastewater management committee, so that perception was not correct.

But Mr Pardoe said he didn’t know if that was enough to stop the continued investigation of the opportunity.

The committee had before it a report updating work regarding alternative use and disposal (AUD) investigations.

The water might be 98 percent pure, Mr Pardoe said, but the target was 100 percent.

“The science is probably still out on the difference between 98 percent and 100 percent.”

The reality was that there was a shortage of water in the district.

“It is not just iwi, and not all of iwi, and we will never get 100 percent of everyone agreeing with it.

“Equally it is not going to be compulsory that you have to use this water. For those of us who do need water, we have nowhere else to go.”

Mr Pardoe said he was speaking on behalf of Rongowhakaata and other iwi land blocks.

“I look forward to this coming to a conclusion so we can develop our land and contribute more to the local economy.”

Councillor Shannon Dowsing said the perception around the use of treated wastewater for irrigation had to be changed so that the district had sufficient water.

The aquifer was over-prescribed by two-thirds.

“We do not have a solution.

“If the aquifer recharge trial is not a success, we won’t be looking at this as an option, but a solution.”

Larry Foster said perception, as in perception of wastewater, was a key word.

There could be a perception the water was contaminated, or a perception that it was not, “from the transformation it has undergone’’.

There were international studies into water quality and people suffering from water shortages who used wastewater.

The perception of (using) wastewater was “overridden” in countries with a reasonable supply of alternative water.

But with climate change and water issues, ‘‘it’s a grey area”.

Other countries with water shortages were using wastewater.

“There’s got to be some conclusion that recycled waste is okay to use.”

Perception changed as demand for water grew.

“If we had a drought this year, that perception would change dramatically.”

Tangata whenua representative Pene Brown questioned the level of consultation.

“It’s just been chucked at us quickly,’’ he said.

Council needed a similar level of stakeholder engagement as Activate Tairawhiti, “to make sure all the people get over the line”.

It was not the role of the wastewater management committee to change the mind of voters, “but to see the best possible proposal is presented”.

Mr Brown said specific legislation was required for Tairawhiti.

It would be difficult expecting everybody to operate within the same Resource Management Act.

A ginger group comprising iwi, council and users was needed to move the project significantly.

He was concerned the next meeting was not scheduled until September.

Committee chairman Bill Burdett said that if the wastewater was 98 percent “pure”, there would still be a question among Maori whether the water should go out to sea, or on to productive land.

Who would make that decision? he said.

Mr Brown said it was not a fair question. It was a matter which should be considered “after the work that is being done”.

Instead, iwi were being presented with a black and white scenario “as is, there are only two possibilities”.

Iwi were sufficiently mature and sophisticated to learn about factors such as levels of clarification and UV.

Maori were willing to look at the science and then make a decision.

Mr Burdett said he was not meaning to be provocative.

August date for AUD draft report

A draft report on alternative use and disposal (AUD) of treated wastewater is due for completion in August after consultation with iwi and other parties, says a report received by Gisborne District Council’s wastewater management committee.

Council has provided a budget of $725,000 for AUD investigations over the 2018-2028 long-term plan including $50,000 in the 2018-2019 financial year.

Consultation with tangata whenua will include a leadership hui, iwi hui, a pakeke hui for tikanga and matauranga Maori ( knowledge, wisdom, understanding, skill) a landowner hui to understand interest/demand, a science expert hui for matauranga Maori and western science aspects, high level meetings with Activate Tairawhiti and then a collective hui to confirm draft findings for a final report that will be complete by August 2019.

The report also included a stocktake of what is happening in New Zealand and internationally regarding the beneficial use of treated wastewater, a presentation placing this in the Tairawhiti context and a Gisborne Chamber of commerce report on the case for using recycled water for the irrigation of horticultural crops.

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