At least $2.6 million ratepayer funds being spent because Horowhenua DC refuses to determine mana whenua

By Veronica Harrod

18 September, 2020

At least $2.6 million ratepayer funds being spent because Council refuses to determine mana whenua. Horowhenua District Council has committed at least $1.4 million ratepayer funding to Te Rūnanga o Raukawa and $814,500 to Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and the Muaūpoko Lands Trust in two separate agreements over Levin’s Waste Water Treatment Plant called The Pot. The agreements, worth a combined minimum total of $2.6 million, were signed by all parties prior to a decision by Manawatu Whanganui Regional Council hearing commissioners on June 2, 2020 to grant the Council a 25 year resource consent to continue storing and discharging treated waste water to The Pot, situated on ecologically and culturally important sand dunes about 4 kilometres west of Levin. In both agreements the Council says it, “takes no position in relation to who holds mana whenua, customary interests and rights, and/or rights of iwi/hapu over any area.” An Environment Ministry document titled ‘Guidelines for Consulting with Tangata Whenua under the Resource Management Act: An Update on Case Law’ states that although determining who holds mana whenua “can be a controversial issue” that “reasonable steps must be taken to identify the correct tangata whenua group. “It is the third agreement Council’s chief executive David Clapperton has signed with Te Rūnanga o Raukawa without the matter being discussed around the Council table – and the second known agreement signed by Larry Parr who is listed on Council’s webpage as chief executive officer for Te Rūnanga o Raukawa. Mr Clapperton also signed lucrative financial agreements with Te Rūnanga o Raukawa over Foxton’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Levin Landfill. The latest agreement was signed on behalf of Ngati Raukawa hapu including, “Ngati Kikopiri (Ngati Huia), Ngati Hikitanga and Ngati Pareraukawa. ”Ngati Raukawa hapu parties to the agreement include Pataka Moore, David Moore, Rachael Selby, Ngatokowaru Marae Committee and Ngati Kikopiri Mori Marae Committee Society in association with the Kikopiri Marae Reservation Trustees. Te Rūnanga o Raukawa, Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and Muaūpoko Lands Trust all agreed to:

1 Inform the regional council within 24 hours of signing the agreement, signed by Te Rūnanga o Raukawa on 5 March and MuaUpoko Tribal Authority on 16 April, “that their position on the Resource Consents have changed and they no longer oppose a 25-year term.”

2 Inform hearing commissioners deciding The Pot application the agreement entered into with the Council responds to, “their concerns, in particular kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and rangatiratanga.”

3 Support the Council in, “any further matters before the hearing commissioners or any appeals” including appeals by the Council if The Pot consent was refused or conditions were imposed which limited or negated the agreement.

4 “Not participate in any way (including supporting any other party) in any process relating to the resource consents being granted, including before the hearing commissioners.”

5 “Not take or be involved in any other proceedings against” the Council or “make complaints against” the Council, “in relation to the discharges at The Pot.”

6 Assist the Council, “to talk with other submitters to try and resolve issues before the hearing commissioners or on any appeal in a manner that achieves the outcomes of this Agreement.”

7 “Work together to identify, assess and, if appropriate, assist consenting potential new areas for irrigation of treated wastewater from the LWWTP on the ‘Tucker Block’ land adjacent to The Pot” owned by the Council.The Council also committed to work with MTA to negotiate and sign a Memorandum of Partnership, “as soon as reasonably practicable, but no later than 3 months from the commencement of this Agreement.”

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