The public must have a say in the future of a farmer's illegal dam and lake near Porotī Springs, say the Māori leaders who own the springs.
Northland Regional Council fined the farmer $500 and told him to apply for resource consent after he dammed a stream on his property near the springs, creating a half-hectare lake.
Hapū spokesperson Millan Ruka said it was unacceptable the council still had not said if the public could make submissions on the consent application, including Māori who own the springs.
"The Porotī springs and the Waipao Stream is essential to the water of Whangarei city," Mr Ruka said.
"For anyone to be able to take water just like that, to impound it - it's not just a dam it's an impoundment of eleven-and-a-half million litres of water - you just can't be allowed to do that."
The farmer was not taking water from it and said it was a conservation project aiming to enhance local wetlands.
The council said it was not yet clear if the dam was affecting Waipao Stream, which flows from Porotī Springs, and a site visit this week should clarify that.