Concern brewing as Chinese-owned water bottling plant sets up shop in Christchurch

Concern is growing as the largest water bottling plant gets underway in Christchurch.

Mineral water company Cloud Ocean Water, whose major shareholder is Chinese-owned Ling Hai Group, received consent to extract more than 4.5 million litres of water a day.

The consent was transferred from the plant's previous owner to Cloud Ocean Water in May.

Environment Canterbury councillor Lan Pham says the issue highlights the government's carelessness towards water allocation.

"I find any large extractive use of water questionable, where it's purely for private profit. A public resource is being extracted and is suffering as a result," Ms Pham says.

However, Ms Pham says water bottling consents pale in comparison to larger irrigation consents, which can be "hundreds of times greater in magnitude".

While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ruled out an export tax last week, the government says it's looking at alternatives, such as tariffs and sales royalties.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, "It's early days but I have seen some initiatives that will help us achieve our outcome of at least NZ getting some benefit from the export of bottled water without breaching our trade agreements."

Critics say it's taking a resource that's already in trouble offshore, for free. Source: 1 NEWS

MOST
POPULAR STORIES


Interisland ferry sailings cancelled due to big swells and wind

The Interislander and Bluebridge ferries have both cancelled sailings today due to strong southerly winds and big swells.

Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries wrote on their Facebook page that the forecast poor weather has arrived.

"We've cancelled our passenger sailings this afternoon and this evening," they said.

Interislander information available online showed that seven sailings between the Kaiarahi, the Aratere and the Kaitaki ferries had been cancelled today.

Affected travellers should visit the websites of either Bluebridge or Interislander for information.

MetService reports that the southerly wind in Wellington is averaging about 43km/h and gusts of up to 120km/h are expected in exposed places for the rest of the day.

A Severe Weather Warning is in place for the region, as well as for Marlborough.

Cook Strait ferries cross paths.
Cook Strait ferries cross paths. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

New video shows Auckland pub patrons trying to fight off masked shotgun-wielding thugs

CCTV footage has been released of a violent confrontation between shotgun-wielding robbers and pub patrons on Auckland's North Shore.

Birkenhead's Good Home pub was robbed by two masked men on August 25, and police made an appeal on TVNZ1's Police Ten 7 programme for the public's help in finding them.

The show featured newly-released video of the incident, during which the two men entered and fired two warning shots into the ceiling when patrons tried to stop them.

One man can be seen trying to get close to one of the robbers, despite a shotgun being pointed at his face, before the robber fires into the ceiling and kicks the man hard, sending him to the ground.

Another person also tries to intervene with a bar stool, but is subdued.

A third suspect was waiting outside in the car when the two emerged and the pair escaped in a stolen white Subaru Impreza with cash.

Police say that car was found dumped on Roseberry Ave 30 minutes later, and another car is believed to have been used, possibly a light blue or grey sedan.

One of the people from the bar was featured on Ten 7, and said the robbery had caused "a lot of anxiety and nightmares" for staff.

"I didn't realise until I was face-to-face with them ... it all kind of set in when I had to give them the money," she said.

Anyone with information can contact Police Ten 7's hotline on 0800 107 4636, citing case number four, or information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Call for Law Society to start taking affirmative action over instances of lawyers’ bad behaviour

The embattled law firm Russell McVeagh has lost one of its partners, after an independent investigation upheld complaints about the man's drunken behaviour at a client function.

Yesterday the law firm's board chair Malcolm Crotty confirmed a partner - who wasn't named - had resigned.

The firm, which provides services to the Government, has been in damage control because of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by senior lawyers in 2015 and 2016.

Russell McVeagh announced in late September it was investigating a complaint that a partner had made offensive comments while he was drinking at a function with clients

The partner was banned from the firm's offices during the investigation.

After the ruling the partner apologised and resigned, but he is still able to practice law.

Former lawyer Olivia Wensley said his resignation won't be career ending.

"I know of many incidents where women have been brave, they've gone to the law firm and laid a complaint, and quite often these men will be moved on one way or another, they often go and practise at the bar," Ms Wensley said.

As the industry regulator, the Law Society needed to start taking affirmative action, Ms Wensley said.

"These men will continue behaving the way they have been because there are no repercussions.

"They are acting like badly behaved children who are not facing discipline. They're going to keep going if there's no action taken and it's up to the regulator to actually take disciplinary action," Ms Wensley said.

Law Society president Kathryn Beck was unavailable.

But a Law Society spokesperson confirmed a meeting had been scheduled with Russell McVeagh at the firm's request.

It said from time to time, law firms meet with the society to discuss reporting a case of misconduct .

Steph Dyhrberg from the Wellington Women Lawyers' Association expected that meeting will be about whether a further complaint is laid.

"If there is a complaint or a notification the standards committee decides to investigate it and if there is a finding against that person of unacceptable behaviour or misconduct of course that calls into question their ability to practice.

"So, there could be consequences for this person beyond simply losing position of prestige status and lots of money being a partner at Russell McVeagh," Ms Dyhrberg said.

Russell McVeagh has chosen not to name the partner.

Ms Dyhrberg backed that decision.

"No, I wouldn't be inclined to name him if I was the firm, it will however rapidly become apparent as it has in previous cases involving law firms and partners leaving," Ms Dyhrberg said.

Ms Dyhrberg said she hoped the resignation of the partner will mark a turning point for victims of bullying and harassment.

- By Katie Scotcher

RNZ.CO.NZ

Lawyers (file picture).
File picture. Source: Supplied


Police seeking witnesses after Wellington brawl leaves two people injured

Police are asking for the public's help after a fight involving six people in Wellington on Tuesday.

Two men were taken to Masterton Hospital with minor injuries after the fraca in the car park at Carrington Park at around 5.20pm.

Police car
Police car Source: 1 NEWS

Anyone with information about the fight is encouraged to contact Carterton Police on 06 379 8032.