If you rely on mainstream media for your news then you may well have missed the fact that an estimated 5000 Canterbury folk attended a protest march in Christchurch last Saturday against the granting of more water extraction rights to the Chinese owned firm Cloud Ocean Water Ltd
The approval was granted by ECan – the government appointed Environment Canterbury Regional Council -and perhaps the most disturbing aspect about it was that public input into the decision was thwarted by Richard Fowler, the QC they appointed to oversee the approval, because he said such input was “not required ” by law .
I find it interesting that just 3 days before the march ECans put up on their site a PR “news” story to the effect that there is plenty of water under Christchurch – the inference being that there really is no probem here.
Well, if it was oil and not water Christchurch had plenty of then I wonder if ECan would be so keen to give it away at a rock bottom price to foreign companies
No. There are some very serious problems involved in allowing the bottling and exportation of water in our country that our Coalition Government needs to urgently address
1. The issue of who owns the water needs to be resolved. If “no one owns the water “ then no one should have the right to sell it.
2. The rights of Maori to water under the Treaty needs to be resolved before any more water extraction permits are allowed
3. The way that water is protected and managed in our country needs a complete review.
4. . The environment impact of mining water and putting into millions of plastic bottles demands that this activity needs to be curtailed
5. The principle of Democracy to which we say we adhere demands that the law be changed so that the public can have their say when decisions about natural resources – in this case water – are to be mined for commercial gain.
So I say good on the organisers of last Saturday’s Christchurch protest and good on all the thousands of Cantabrians who turned out to make their voices heard.
May many more of us to take up this call, throughout the length and breadth of our nation.
PS My thanks to Marney Brosnan of Mahi Pai Media for today’s photo
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.