Ashburton residents demand council ditch water bottling plan

Ashburton residents have gathered wide support in their fight against council plans to allow billions of litres of local water to be bottled and sold overseas.

The Ashburton Council wants to allow up to 45 litres of water a second to be pumped out for commercial use. Source: 1 NEWS

Today, from a district that has a population of around 33,000, came a petition of more than 40,000 signatures.

The petition is Ashburton residents' latest weapon against a controversial council deal to sell "Lot 9", along with a consent that allows 45 litres of water to be pumped every second until 2046.

"Why on earth would we give 40 billion away if we haven't even got enough for ourselves," said Jen Branje of the group "Bung the Bore". 

The residents hammered home their message direct to council, with a packed public gallery of protesters.

"With groundwater at a 66-year low gifting our resources for the purpose of bottling is an ill-considered proposal," said Ms Branje.

The mayor, Angus McKay, listened but seems unmoved, saying: "It concerns me that people are upset about it. It also concerns me that there are people wanting jobs in this district."

He claims the buyer, NZ Pure Blue, says the water bottling project will provide 100 jobs.

But a suggestion of jobs isn't enough to sweeten the deal for Ms Branje, who's threatening a judicial review of the consent and has given the council until July 30 to change its mind, an ultimatum, that earned her an ovation at today's meeting.



'I've tried to be patient with the school' - parents frustrated over bullying claims

A group of parents have been left frustrated by the way a Christchurch school has handled claims of bullying.

One mother has pulled her children out of Lyttelton Primary School in protest, frustrated with how the school is dealing with the ongoing bullying problem. Source: 1 NEWS

One mother, Caroline Quinn, has even pulled her children out of Lyttelton Primary School in protest, but the school says it's doing everything it can to improve behaviour.

Ms Quinn was sickened to hear what had happened to her six and eight-year-old girls at Lyttelton Primary School 10 days ago. 

"Both have been punched in the face. My elder one was knocked to the ground, punched in the face several times and kicked in the stomach several times," Ms Quinn told ONE News.

"The school didn't think that that was serious enough to pick up the telephone and call me to let me know. I had to hear this from my daughters and their friends after school," she said. 

Ms Quinn says there have been other incidents over the past year and she's frustrated by how it has been handled.

"I've tried to be patient with the school. I've gone through all the correct channels, I've followed the complaints procedure, even though the school hasn't," she said. 

The school's board of trustees has responded to ONE News' inquiries with a statement.

"The board is already taking steps to address these concerns. A behaviour committee has been set up and this committee will engage with parents, staff and students," said Bridget O'Brien, the board of trustees chair.

The Ministry of Education has confirmed it has had one complaint about bullying, and says it's working with the school. 

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