19 Oct 2012

Zodiac decision boosts hapu morale

6:53 am on 19 October 2012

The lawyer leading Maori claims to freshwater says a win by Whangarei's Poroti hapu provides a much-needed morale boost.

Northland Regional Council has refused Auckland company Zodiac Holdings consent to take more water from Poroti Springs to start an export bottling business.

The independent commissioner who heard the case found Zodiac had no reliable way to measure the impact of an increased take on Maori cultural interests, and other water users.

Felix Geiringer, who's representing the Poroti claimants as part of the Maori Council claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, says it's a good result for the hapu, but it follows a series of losses.

The regional council recently extended the term of water rights of Zodiac, local irrigators, and the Whangarei District Council, from 10 years to 35.

Mr Geiringer says that's a growing national trend, and it's a key issue for Maori challenging the Crown over rights to freshwater.

The Poroti hapu has appealed to the Environment Court against the extended term for water rights granted over the springs.