The folks at Aotearoa Water Action and Sustainable Otakiri need your help. They are fighting a resource consent that would significantly expand an existing water bottling plant run by Otakiri Spring in Otakiri, Bay of Plenty. Currently the plant bottles 1.7 million litres of water a year. With the expansion, it would bottle a minimum of 550 million litres of water a year. Yes, you read that number correctly. In order to challenge the resource consent, the volunteers behind the Love Our Wai campaign need to raise $43,125 by 8 May to be spent on legal fees. We chatted to Niki Gladding of Aotearoa Water Action to find out more.
Why do you think this campaign is important?
AWA has teamed up with Sustainable Otakiri to get this case to Court. Until now our focus has been on Christchurch but it’s important to help anyone battling this industry. The campaign is critical because the group needs their legal team – they are fantastic and have been working for next to nothing to get the case to this point.
The case is important for a host of reasons: if Sustainable Otakiri can stop the expansion – and they have a good chance of doing that – then we will have helped to stop the production of at least 550million plastic bottles each year, an additional 202 truck and trailer trips between Otakiri and the Port of Tauranga each day and the export of 1.1 million cubic metres of aquifer water. The plant will also produce up to 450m3 of phosphorus and arsenic-rich process water each day. That process water will be discharged into a local stream which is also a tributary of the already polluted Tarawera River – we can stop that. Finally, if we’re successful – i.e. if you donate – it sends a strong message to Government and investors that we don’t want the industry to set up in New Zealand.
What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?
Sustainable Otakiri had no choice but to crowdfund. The group applied twice to the Ministry for the Environment’s Environmental Legal Assistance Fund and it was turned down both times. The first time they told them the appeal was too broad. On that advice, and due to lack of funds, they narrowed it – this time they were told the appeal was too narrow to meet the criteria. The only option now is crowdfunding and it’s a great option because kiwis are generous; AWA raised $40 000 last year to take ECan and Cloud Ocean Water to court. We want Sustainable Otakiri get to court too so we’re hoping that everyone who wants this plant stopped and anyone who wants water bottling stopped, will pledge to go in the draw to win one of our awesome prizes.
What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?
We’ll admit we are winging it. We’ll be adding rewards to the page over the next few weeks so our message is: keep coming back because all of a sudden there might be something just right for you!
Sustainable Otakiri will be holding meetings in the local area and advertising those on the Save Our Wai facebook page. The group will also be holding a rally so locals can let the Council know that they don’t see the expansion of the water bottling industry as an opportunity for the District. If anyone has any great ideas, please let us know.
Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?
We know you’re there and we know you care so please help us out. These guys are up against the second largest bottling company in the world (second only to Nestle) – they can do it, but they can’t do it on their own. We only have until May 8th to raise the $30 000 so, PLEDGE, SHARE the link to the Pledgeme page, do some fundraising for us if you’re keen or perhaps donate a voucher we can ‘raffle’ for a lucky pledger to use at your business. Ask us questions, offer advice, get involved because this is our water and it’s hugely important that we look after it for generations to come. Oh, and please help soon – don’t wait until the last minute, it’s hard on the nerves 😉! Contact [email protected]