Incinerator opponent finds ally

An artist’s impression of what a new $350 million waste-to-energy plant in the Waimate District...
An artist’s impression of what a new $350 million waste-to-energy plant in the Waimate District could look like. IMAGE: SUPPLIED
The group against the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Glenavy is taking its knowledge north — joining opponents of a similar venture in Northland.

The Kaipara District Council has been working with majority overseas-owned South Island Resource Recovery Ltd (SIRRL) towards building the waste-to-energy plant.

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SIRRL has proposed to build a $350 million waste-to-energy plant in Glenavy and is also looking at building a larger $730m plant in Kaipara.

Kaipara Mayor Craig Jepson has been pushing for the plant, which would burn rubbish from Auckland and Northland to produce electricity.

A new community opposition group, Stop the Kaipara Waste Incinerator, has been set up to fight the proposed Kaipara waste-to-energy plant.

A national petition has also been launched, while a livestreamed public meeting in Kaipara is scheduled within weeks.

The Stop the Kaipara Waste Incinerator group has linked up with South Canterbury’s Why Waste Waimate opponents’ group, which has been fighting the establishment of the plant at Glenavy.

Why Waste Waimate spokesman Robert Ireland said he was concerned local people around Kaipara were getting the same initial information about the proposed waste-to-energy plant his community received when the proposed Waimate plant was first raised in September 2021.

He said the plant was basically double the size of the Glenavy plant and the group from Kaipara had approached Why Waste Waimate.

Mr Ireland said SIRRL was just doing the same in Kaipara as it did in Waimate and he was informing the group about what they had found.

SIRRL had filed consents with both Environment Canterbury and the Waimate District Council in September 2022.

More information was sought and a hearing also took place on whether the applicant had to file a cultural impact assessment.

Eventually, the two territorial authorities and SIRRL agreed the proposal should be called in by the minister for the environment.

This was duly done in September last year when then minister David Parker called in the project.

It was being managed by the Environmental Protection Authority, and more information on various issues was being sought by SIRRL.

Mr Jepson spent a month at a similar plant in France in 2020 to learn more about its operation and will soon travel to Vietnam, where he is scheduled to visit two waste-to-energy plants.

He said the pending Vietnam travel was a family cycling trip and was not being paid for by any waste-to-energy company.

— Susan Botting, Local democracy reporter

— additional reporting Steve Hepburn

— LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.