Friday, March 5, 2010

black drain starts journey of healing

This accord is a start - but just the start. Iwi must have the ability to protect the rivers - if we leave it up to business and dairy farmers the rivers will die. From NZH
"Ngati Awa, Ngati Rangitihi and Ngati Tuwharetoa have had a shaky relationship with the owners of the Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill in Kawerau, which has been discharging effluent into the Tarawera River.
But yesterday, they aimed to turn over a new leaf, signing a memorandum of understanding with Carter Holt Harvey and Norske Skog to make a commitment to clean up the river together."
The Tarawera River is known as the black drain!
"Ngati Rangitihi spokesman Henry Pryor said it was important that the community, including iwi, supported the mill because it created hundreds of jobs for people in the Matata and Kawerau regions."
I can understand the pragmatic rationale behind the sentiment but i don't agree with it. I do agree that we don't want everyone to be out of work but why does it have to be an either-or situation. I tend to go with the previous position of
"Members of Ngati Awa had previously called for the mill to be shut down altogether."
Pressure must be exerted on these types of companies - after all they exist in our communities even though most of the money they make goes to overseas interests. Why exert pressure?
"As Henry says, "The river is a living entity which represents the spiritual, cultural and physical life of our ancestors. If it is unwell, so are we."
In October, the mill was given permission to continue discharging effluent into the river, as well as gas and dust emissions, for another 25 years.
One of the conditions of its consent was improving consultation with the local iwi.
Let's just be really clear - the company doesn't care about the river or the people or the community or the environment - they care about profit - PROFIT. 

They will take the profit until the day the river dies and they can't generate it anymore and then they will leave and do it somewhere else, meanwhile the community, the river, the people will all be left to look after themselves.

Footnote from Waatea News Update
"Maanu Paul says those who signed the memorandum don't hold the mandate from the Matata iwi when it comes to the river and the mill's resource consent.
“The claim for the river in the Waitangi Tribunal is in the name of Te Tino Tangatiratanga o Ngati Rangitihi. The appeal to the Environment Court is in the name of Te Tino Tangatiratanga o Ngati Rangitihi. It is certainly not in the name of those people who are purporting to speak in the name of Rangitihi,” Mr Paul says.
He says the small number of jobs Ngati Rangitihi people have at the mill needs to be weighed against the hundreds they miss out on because of the pollution of their waterways.

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