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Mangawhai Matters: Mangawhai Central’s plans for potable water: More wishful thinking?

A Mangawhai Central (MC) developer proposal to privately fund or co-fund a potable water line from Lang’s Beach to Mangawhai could never be approved by the October deadline given to Kaipara District Council (KDC).

The inference is that this water supply would be available to the greater Mangawhai area. However the devil is in the detail. Even if there was a piped supply available, the cost to provide a reticulated infrastructure throughout Mangawhai would be prohibitive. Even if every councillor agreed to it, any such scheme would still need:

· An amendment to KDC’s Long Term Plan and the next opportunity for a review is in 12 months’ time.

· A radical revision of Kaipara finances.

· A process of public consultation.

A potable water line between Waipu and Mangawhai Central was discussed at a KDC meeting last month. In correspondence with KDC, the developer has pressured our council to sign a complex supply agreement between Whangarei District Council (WDC) (owner of the water supply), MC (private developer) and KDC. The developer has imposed an approval deadline of October 21.

Mangawhai Matters Society Inc (and others) has appealed the KDC decision to grant a radical Plan Change for the land at Mangawhai Central. All parties to the appeal, including KDC and MC have agreed to mediation that must be completed by October 1.

Without a proven secure potable water supply the MC development will be left high and dry (pun intended). As the suggested on-site dam supply was never feasible, the piped supply from Langs Beach could be seen as a desperate attempt to secure a water supply before the Environment Court mediation deadline.

KDC recently approved the expenditure of $100,000 to conduct a study to see whether a potable supply from Waipu could economically provide a community supply filling point for our local water delivery services. This would be of great benefit to the community in times of drought.

Not wishing to comment while an existing study by KDC was underway, KDC Mangawhai councillor Jonathan Larsen says that any proposal concerning water reticulation would need to be considered by council and also through the public consultation process. He also says there was no proposal for water reticulation contained in the Long-Term Plan, and a review of the Plan had just been completed.

Councillor Peter Wethey has recently been misquoted in the media as supporting the Mangawhai Central reticulation proposal.

“I support a study that looks into the supply of any excess water that Whangarei District Council can make available to the KDC via a pipeline from Waipu to Mangawhai, that can be used by water tankers in times of drought when there is a lack of supply from existing sources,“said Mr Wethey.

Mr Wethey is looking more to such a pipeline giving “security of supply” for Mangawhai, but not a reticulated network.

“It’s a different story when it comes to a potable water supply for all of Mangawhai,” he said.

Mr Wethey says that the $100,000 study that has been approved by KDC is to look into how any Whangarei Council surplus water resulting from the closure of the Marsden Point refinery might provide a secure supply for Mangawhai.

“We’ve never considered an entire reticulation system and any such system would require extensive community consultation, he said.

The WDC has said it would not supply water to a private developer. In any event such an arrangement would fly in the face of the Government’s Three Waters plan.


Water supply and PC 78 appeal mediation
The issue of supply of water to the Mangawhai Central development will be the subject of discussion at the Environment Court-assisted mediation on PC78 as has been agreed by all parties.

Mangawhai Matters Society, Clive Boonham, and the NRC (which is a party to both appeals) will all have something to say about the availability and security of potable water for this major development.

The NRC has stated that it does not believe Mangawhai Central will be supported by reticulated water in the short term, and therefore adequate on-site water supply (water tanks) should be provided. The NRC issued limited ground-water permits to MC late last year. MC has been erroneously claiming that those permits will enable the developer to give adequate potable water to the commercial users plus the 350sqm smaller lots that will have difficulty fitting a water tank on site.


NRC and its rates increases
Mangawhai and other Northland ratepayers can feel very aggrieved about the NRC rate increase for 2021/22 of 20.71 per cent. Hidden away in the rate demand from KDC, the increase has not been given any publicity by NRC. Neither has its plans for a further 14 per cent in 2022/2023 and a 9 per cent increase in 2023/2024. The compound effect of these increases means that NRC rates will have increased by 50 per cent in Year 3; i.e. $100 of rates today will become $150 in three years’ time.

KDC has been very open for quite some time about its planned increases and consulted with the community on these increases, but this can’t be said for the NRC. A publicity blurb from NRC that was sent to ratepayers with the KDC rate demand tells us the wonderful things that NRC is doing but just forgets to mention the massive and unacceptable rate increases ratepayers are facing in the next three years, and why they are necessary.

Mangawhai Matters thinks the NRC arrogance towards its constituents should be noted at the next elections. Rick Stolwerk, Mangawhai’s NRC councillor, approved these outlandish increases without any community discussion but may now pay the price at the next election.


n Want to join the Mangawhai Matters Society Inc. as a member and have a say? It’s only $20 per family per year. Please make deposits to 01-0204-0160241-00. Following your payment please email us at mangawhaimatters@gmail.com giving us your name, phone, and address so we can keep in touch.

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