New blog

I will be regularly reading the new Point of Order blog.

The three authors are all veterans journalists (Ian Templeton, Bob Edlin and Brian Lockstone) who used to write for the excellent Trans-Tasman. Its demise was very sad, but the up side for the public is their writings will now be available to all.

Several good posts already up. One very interesting post is on the Chinese owned water bottling company given permission by Eugenie Sage to buy land to expand.

The Greens have claimed that the Overseas Investment Act doesn’t allow them to to take account of the environment or the Treaty of Waitangi. I have already blogged how they are wrong on the environment. In fact, there are half a dozen environmental criteria.

But Point of Order point out that the local Iwi is actually all in favour of the bottling plant. So the Greens saying it should be stopped because of the Treaty goes right against the actual views of the local mana whenua.

They quote a Radio NZ report:

The Murupapa community is hoping an iwi-supported proposal to build the country’s biggest water bottling plant could revitalise the once-thriving regional town.

Ngāti Manawa has agreed to lease land for two plants that would export 18 million litres of water per day from an aquifer near the Bay of Plenty town.

Some in the community believe this a chance for the community to reverse its economic misfortune of the past.

Murupapa felt the sting of major privatisation in the mid 1980s when its thriving forestry economy collapsed overnight, leaving the town in an economic tailspin it has been unable to recover from.

Now the town has an unemployment rate of 27 percent, more than four times the national average.

Iwi leaders hope that could drastically change if the town becomes home to the country’s largest water bottling plant.

They believe the project – estimated to create around 1500 jobs – is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure a decent future for their members.

So this is what the Greens are decrying. A proposal with massive support from mana whenua that could create 1,500 jobs for a twon with a 27% unemployment rate.

UPDATE: Point of Order has conflated two different bottling projects. Sage signed off on Otakiri, not Murapara. Still a useful point made that these projects can and often do have local support.

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