Who do we blame for giving away a valuable natural resource for a pittance?

When a China-owned company sought permission to access and bottle Christchurch water there were mutterings from Maori that they wanted compensation for something they believe they own, the water. At the time the National government avoided getting into a skirmish over water rights by saying ?no one owns the water?, meaning no one can charge for it.

The Christchurch City Council went ahead and issued a permit for the removal of 200 million litres a year for bottling, for a ridiculously low annual fee. Quote.

Aside from the cost of the Station Rd scour property and an adjacent old tannery, Cloud Ocean paid $2277 for its 1.57 billion litre annual water take.?

  Stuff end quote.

The Chinese are onto a very lucrative export business, and understandably are forging ahead with a second development. They have purchased the land, a site with eight bores for taking drinking water, to build a second 22,000-square-metre?bottling plant and distribution centre where they would also produce plastic bottles. Where are the greenies when you need them? Cloud Ocean should be exporting recyclable glass bottles. Quote.

If it gains consent to use them, it could have access to another 7.5 billion litres of the city’s water ? five times what it can already take ? for export each year.

Cloud Ocean already has permission to take 1.57 billion litres annually from two bores at the old Kaputone wool scour site on Station Rd.

Combined, the near 9 billion litres for bottling would make the company the second biggest consumer of water in Christchurch, behind only the city council.

If Cloud Ocean bottled all of the water it could be entitled to under the consents at its new site, that would amount to almost 25 million litres of water a day.

By comparison, the entire population of Christchurch ? including all commercial operations ? used 196 million litres on Thursday, according to council data.

City councillor Vicki Buck branded the idea “absolutely terrifying”, saying: “It’s just horrible, no matter which way you look at it ? you can’t justify it.

“The whole concept of the Cloud Ocean Water take is that it is simply one of potentially many. If the ability to transfer water consents from one owner to another and from one aquifer to another and from one use to another is allowed, this is what happens.

“In this case, the people of Christchurch have had no say whatsoever. It means the judicial review becomes even more important. end quote.

Buck is right about that.? So who do we blame for this outrage? Maori for squabbling over ownership of the water? The National government for not growing a pair – or a vagina (those things can take a pounding) – and giving away one of our greatest national assets for free? Or the Christchurch City Council for issuing the permit that let them do it?? A clusterfig is what we have here, and the only winner is the plastic producing, water bottling export company.

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