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Media Response: Mahurangi Matters


Answers to questions

The landfill fire at Hampton Downs and the former landfill that burst in Fox River on the West Coast - several local residents have phoned or called in to voice their worries that something similar could happen in the Dome Valley. How do you respond to this?

With regards to the fire at Hampton Downs, we are unable to comment in depth as we do not have detail on the cause of the fire. With regards to the Fox River situation on the West Coast, this is a very unfortunate result of an old tip (or dump), of which there are many across New Zealand. Until the
1980s most of these council owned and operated waste disposal sites were often poorly sited, designed and managed. It is thought that there are well over 1000 of them in number, and this is one of them.

In 2001, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) published “A Guideline for the
Management of Closing and Closed Landfills in New Zealand” recognising these that these poorly sited and managed tips needed to be closed and managed during the aftercare period. This document also increased awareness of the risks associated with these tips.

Since then, all new disposal sites post the introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 have been required to meet significantly higher engineered standards. The WasteMINZ Technical Guidelines for Disposal to Land 2016 (revised in 2018), which are is in the process of being adopted by Ministry for the Environment, are now considered best practice for modern engineered landfills, and will be followed by Waste Management at our proposed facility in Wayby.

These guidelines mitigate against future Fox River events through a range of practices, including site selection, stormwater management, liner systems, leachate and gas management and careful design and management of a modern landfill. In addition, ensuring application of the guidelines and monitoring of Waste Management’s adherence to them occurs throughout the life of the landfill under the Resource Management Act.

We understand that OIA documents relating to Waste Management’s application for OIO approval show the company stating that "declining the investment could have an adverse impact on NZ receiving further investment from China”. Concerns have been voiced to us that this sounds like a "veiled threat” or bullying - can you explain why Waste Management would say that?

We don’t believe that the language in the application is threatening. It is written for the purposes of an assessment process that is managed by the Overseas Investment Office. It is a legal document that requires all submitters to provide detail of benefits of our investment compared to the alternative should the investment be declined.