Whakatāne community crowdfunding for court battle with Chinese-owned water bottling company

Members of a Whakatāne community are trying to raise funds to block a controversial water bottling company from taking a billion litres of water from an ancient aquifer.

A hearing will take place in May, but locals question how the Chinese owned company was granted consent in the first place.

"The regional council's approved it, the district council's approved it, but the residents are fighting it mainly on the grounds that we don't want industrial scale water bottling activity in a rural area which totally goes against the Whakatāne District Council plan," resident Ian Gray told 1 NEWS.

New owner Nongfu Spring plans to use the aquifer to fill up to 3.7 million bottles a day.

Residents are no longer appealing the water consent, their challenge is now based on the impact to their community.

"We're seeing industrial factories going into rural zones affecting multiple families," Sustainable Otakiri's Maureen Fraser says.

Nongfu says its new plant will employ nearly 60 people and it's trying to work constructively with neighbours.

Community group Sustainable Otakiri is crowdfunding to fight its appeal next month.

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    Residents say Nongfu Spring’s plan to take a billion litres of water will have a detrimental impact on their way of life. Source: 1 NEWS