13 Mar 2013

Farmers' water scheme looks set to be privatised

7:43 am on 13 March 2013

The privatisation of a South Taranaki water scheme near the coastal town of Opunake is likely to go ahead despite opposition from the Maori landowner.

If the Cold Creek Rural Water Supply Bill passes its third reading in Parliament on Wednesday, ownership will transfer from the district council to local farmers.

The farmers set up the water scheme in the 1980s to store, treat and pipe water to about 300 consumers with the help of a government subsidy, leasing land from Parinihi ki Waitotara, a large Maori land trust.

National MP Chester Borrows has championed the legislation and says the farmers should take ownership.

But Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia considers the bill another blow for Maori water rights and says it undermines two treaty negotiations.

Parinihi ki Waitotara says it has had no say in the matter.