Last night I attended a pre-hearing meeting to discus the replacement of 52 water take consents from the Ngaruroro River. These types of meetings are fairly standard and are really useful. Essentially the applicants and submitters sit down and discuss their different points of view in the hope that these can be resolved without going through the expense of a resource consent hearing.
What I found fascinating was the views of two of the applicants. To my mind if they didn’t get what they wanted they threatened to divest from Hawkes Bay. These sorts of statements kind of raise my hackles and tend to get me into all sorts of trouble. I came close to doing so, but managed to pull back in time.
It did make me think though. What motivated me to make a submission on these consents? I have no skin in the game. Why should I care?
Someone has to speak on behalf of the river. Some one has to challenge what is essentially the colonial mindset of some water users. They seem to have a sense of entitlement that the resource is theirs to do with what they want because they have the financial capital to do so. It is exactly this thinking that lead to Hawkes Bay now been home to two water bottling plants. I happen to disagree with this type of thinking.
After all water is a commons. It belongs to all of us. Users should be grateful that we are granting them permission to use it without cost. It should be us that decides if an applicant is worthy of our permission. We should not have to tip our caps in servitude every time someone wants to take the risk of investing here.
Thankfully the majority of applicants did not seem to have this mindset. They are investigating setting up global consents which to me implies they are looking at managing the water resource as a commons, which is far more efficient that acting in their individual interests. They also recognise the value of the TANK group process which was encouraging. Whilst I might moan and groan at times we are not that far apart in our thinking.
So I am pleased that I made the effort and made a submission on these consents and attended last nights meeting. But someone needs to represent the Ngaruroro who is not tied to an organisation. Someone independent and is able to speak their mind freely. That’s what motivates me to get involved. Nothing else.