Mark Patterson, List MP based in Clutha-Southland
Clutha-Southland based New Zealand First List MP Mark Patterson has congratulated all the parties involved in pulling together an agreement on the removal of thousands of tonnes of a hazardous material from Southland sheds.
Quantities of ouvea premix, a fertiliser premix produced from toxic aluminium dross materials, have been stored in the former Matuara paper mill and other sites in the region since processor Taha Asia Pacific went into liquidation in August 2016.
“A solution needed to be found as there was a groundswell of community concern about the abandonment of about 22,000 tonnes of ouvea premix in Southland,’’ Mr Patterson said.
“Of particular concern was the storing of premix in the old Mataura paper mill on the banks of the Mataura River, where a flooding event risked contamination of the river,” he added.
Under a deal negotiated by the Gore District Council, Australian-based company Inalco Processing Ltd will remove the substance from sites in Mataura and Invercargill over the next six years. $4 million has been pledged from New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, the Ministry for the Environment, landlords and local councils. Work will begin in the next three months.
Mr Patterson said he was pleased to have been able to play a part in resolving the complex situation, working alongside Minister for the Environment David Parker, as well as other key stakeholders including Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter, local councils, and property owners. He singled out Gore District Council chief executive Steve Parry for working tirelessly to bring all the parties together and keep them focused on agreeing an acceptable solution.
“Removal of the premix was long overdue. This deal is a great outcome for both the communities and prized environment of Southland,” Mr Patterson said.