Media release: For immediate release
Nongfu Spring seeks combined consent hearing for more efficient process
[Whakatane, 14 December 2017] Nongfu Spring today welcomes the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s decision to publicly notify its consent applications
to expand the Otakiri Springs water bottling plant and looks forward to talking and listening to the community about the
merits of its proposal.
The private, family-owned company also has consent applications lodged with the Whakatane District Council, but not
publicly notified, and has now formally requested these matters be dealt with together in a combined hearing in order to
reduce costs for participants and make the process more accessible and efficient.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council consents relate to the expansion and operation of the Otakiri Spring water bottling
facility, while the Whakatane District Council consents concern land use activities related to developing the plant.
Nongfu Spring recognises the strong public interest in commercial water use and the sustainable management of the
community resource, says Michael Gleissner, director of Nongfu Springs’ subsidiary, Creswell New Zealand.
The company believes the consenting process will help people better understand the complexities of the water allocation
system and the benefits and value water bottling brings to the wider community, says Gleissner.
“As we’ve said before, we’re prepared to pay a royalty on the commercial use of water, should the Government decide to
impose one, provided it is fair and equitable,” he says. “We also believe the proceeds from any royalty should be
invested back into the Eastern Bay community.”
Nongfu Spring has invested considerable time and funds in supporting the local community, including providing water in
the wake of the Edgecumbe floods, Gleissner notes.
“If consent is granted, we will create real local jobs for local people, particularly Māori,” says Gleissner. “When
completed, the plant will employ 60 staff (up from eight staff currently) and will deliver considerable benefits to the
communities of Te Teko, Kawerau and Whakatane.”
Most of the positions have been earmarked for local Māori as was promised by Nongfu Springs’ Chairman Zhong during
meetings with iwi last December, he adds.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has accepted findings from economic research consultancy BERL, which estimates the
new jobs and downstream economic impacts of the proposal will add $8.59 million to the regional economy.
Gleissner says the publicly notified consent hearing will allow Nongfu Spring to speak directly to the community about
the job creation, economic benefits and present scientific evidence showing the proposed water take is sustainable and
well within the limits set by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Nongfu Spring supports the Council proposal to restrict the water take from the aquifer to not more than 35% of the
average annual recharge rate as this will ensure there will always be water in the aquifer for future generations, he
Nongfu Spring is committing to the community for the long-term and to the sustainable management of the artesian water
resource and looks forward to engaging and supporting the next generations of whānau from Te Teko, Kawerau and
Whakatane, says Gleissner.