Environment Court to hear from Ngati Awa

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The Environment Court has been told that expansion of the Otakiri water bottling plant has positive benefits to the local economy.

The Court is continuing to hear appeals against the granting of resource consent by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for a big increase in the quantity of underground water the plant can take.

Regional Council lawyer Mary Hill told the hearing the council believes issues raised can be addressed including cultural matters.

Mary Hill said significant employment opportunities will be lost if the project doesn't proceed.

Earlier this week the Court also heard from counsel for Cresswell New Zealand.

Representative David Randal argued the Court cannot consider the issues of who owns water and whether royalties should be paid for its use, noting that the appeal comes at a time of heightened awareness of taking underground water for bottling.

He contended the court could not consider politics, or the questions of who owns water or whether royalties should be paid for its use.

The Environment Court is today hearing from Ngati Awa at Te Manuka Tutahi Marae in Whakatane.

Sam Gardner