Fight to abolish landfill gathers steam

By Marena Mane

Environmental groups and local iwi are banding together to fight the Dome Valley landfill, north of Auckland.

Chinese owned, Waste Management New Zealand, bought the 1000 hectare site near Wellsford, and won resource consent from Auckland Council, to fill 60 hectares with rubbish.

A community group called 'Fight The Tip' has joined forces with Ngāti Whātua and Ngāti Manuhiri to lodge appeals to the Environmental Court. So far nine appeals have been filed.

On Saturday, hundreds of community members voiced their concerns about the landfill at a hui of interested locals and iwi.

“We had a lot of our community turn up along with iwi and Fight The Tip to share what our next step is so what our involvement can be in the Environmental Court process and how members of the community can actually become witnesses for Fight The Tip or any of the other appellants,” Fight The Tip's Michelle Carmichael says.

Petition to Parliament

“They want to remove 14 kilometres of streams in the valley with a landfill. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.”

“We actually have a petition to Parliament, which is to ban landfills from any area in any waterway in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Write to the central government, especially to  David Parker, the Minister of the Environment. Support that petition to ban landfills near waterways.”

According to Mikaera Miru of Ngāti Whatua ki Kaipara, mana whenua has been involved since Waste Management started the conversation of buying the land for the landfill and invited other statutory entities throughout Kaipara and the government has not considered that Crown entities must consult their Treaty partner. 

“We have brought the Ngāti Whatua rūnanga, we have brought the Ngāti Manuhiri Trust Board, Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust, Ngā Maunga Whakahī, they are all statutory entities representing mana whenua throughout the whole of the Kaipara.”

“This whole process has completely trampled upon our relationship and our Treaty process.”

 Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whatua chief executive Alan Riwaka says the government did not consult with iwi at all. 

'Bad decisionmaking'

“The government should have been consulting when Waste Management first made its move to set up a landfill in New Zealand. There was no consultation at that point. Had there have been, we probably could have dealt with a number of the issues that have come up.”

“There was only one Māori commissioner in there [five independent commissioners heard the consent application for Auckland Council] and that concerns us in terms of the evidence that was actually given at the hearing, the quality of the evidence," he says. "The people who were giving the evidence was totally ignored.

“This is bad decision-making."

Carmichael says by googling ‘Fight The Tip’, supporters can donate to the Give a Little page to help towards Environmental Court hearings. Otherwise, any experts in any of the fields that relate to a landfill or waste industry who want to be a witness and provide evidence should get in contact.