What has happened since the Tribunal's recommendations?
Since the Tribunal made its recommendations, the following has happened:
- Syngas's right to build a new outfall at Motunui was cancelled and, as a temporary measure, it discharged its waste through the Waitara Borough Council's outfall.
The New Plymouth District Council was given the responsibility for providing upgraded sewage disposal facilities for Waitara. To accomplish this:
- A treatment plant was built to treat the waste from Waitara and the AFFCO Freezing Works (formerly Borthwicks). The plant was a joint-venture project between the New Plymouth District Council and AFFCO, and the Crown paid 50 per cent of the costs of the project.
- The Waitara Borough outfall was renewed. The Crown paid 90 per cent of the cost, and the outfall was used and managed by a team including Petralgas, Syngas, the New Plymouth District Council, and AFFCO.
These two projects reduced the pollution of coastal fisheries to minimal levels. Though the discharge of sewage no matter how treated is offensive to Maori, Te Atiawa compromised in the interests of the wider community because there was no land disposal system suitable for the volume of waste that needed to be disposed of.
Te Atiawa's spokesperson on the claim, Aila Taylor, was happy with the siting of the treatment plant and felt that it would answer his tribe's cultural concerns.
- A full monitoring programme was put in place to make sure the tribe's concerns about the environment were listened to and followed, and the Secretary for the Environment monitored progress on behalf of the Government.
- The Maori Fisheries Act 1989 was passed. It was designed to give protection to Maori fishing grounds and allowed for taiapure areas to be established.
- The Resource Management Act 1991 was passed. It was written after discussions and meetings were held with Maori. This input had a significant impact on the Act, and affected the way in which New Zealand's natural resources are now managed. The Act contains references to the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendations concerning natural resources (land, water, minerals, geothermal power, forests, and fisheries) were addressed and appropriate clauses incorporated.
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