Punakaiki water provide ‘sabotage’ slammed by mayor

Buller’s mayor has slammed a pair who redirected Punakaiki’s water provide to their very own energy generator, saying it was a “egocentric act”. 

However Edgar Rochwalski says he didn’t harm the city’s weir and he had a right to reclaim the water as a result of it was on his land. 

A weir is a small-scale dam used to direct water into pipes flowing to the city’s water therapy plant and storage tanks. The weir and water catchment is situated on non-public property belonging to Rochwalski and Janice Lee.

Edgar Rochwalski and Janice Lee redirected water into their power generator, creating a shortage in Punakaiki's storage tanks.


Edgar Rochwalski and Janice Lee redirected water into their energy generator, making a scarcity in Punakaiki’s storage tanks.

Mayor Jamie Cleine mentioned the council was compelled to make use of a safety guard this week to make sure no extra harm was performed. 

“It was a really egocentric act. Whoever broken the weir wasn’t pondering of anybody else in that group,” he mentioned. 

Edgar Rochwalski and Janice Lee own the land where Punakaiki township gets its water.

Joanne Carroll/Stuff

Edgar Rochwalski and Janice Lee personal the land the place Punakaiki township will get its water.

The Buller District Council instructed residents on Monday they wanted to preserve water after the village’s weir was broken. It mentioned police had been investigating. 

Rochwalski and Lee mentioned they by no means consented to the council accessing or taking water from their land.

The council needs to compulsorily purchase the land below the Public Works Act, however the couple say they need a good value for it, in addition to compensation for entry tracks created by the council and the lack of water for his or her energy generator. That they had beforehand sought compensation of $230,000. 

Rochwalski and Lee allege the Buller District Council damaged native trees on their land by cutting tracks to access Punakaiki's water supply.


Rochwalski and Lee allege the Buller District Council broken native timber on their land by chopping tracks to entry Punakaiki’s water provide.

About 150 individuals reside in Punakaiki however greater than 500,000 vacationers go to the area annually, together with 6500 a day throughout peak season.

Cleine mentioned the water provide would already be below stress presently of yr because of the inflow of vacationers.

Council contractors found the weir was damaged on Friday and shored it again up with sandbags. The sandbags had been eliminated on Sunday. The water degree within the city’s tanks had dropped to 30 per cent of capability (213,000 litres), inflicting some faucets to sluggish to a drip. 

Rochwalski and Lee trespassed the council staff going through their property to access Punakaiki's water supply.


Rochwalski and Lee trespassed the council employees going by way of their property to entry Punakaiki’s water provide.

“For somebody to try this no matter their place negotiating with council, to stoop that low, is disappointing,” Cleine mentioned. 

Water ranges within the city’s tanks had returned to 60 per cent capability by Wednesday. They might retailer as much as 710,000 litres, sufficient to final about 10 days. 

Storage can be again to 100 per cent capability by Monday if there have been no additional interruptions. 

Punakaiki is home to about 150 people, but is visited by about 500,000 people each year.


Punakaiki is residence to about 150 individuals, however is visited by about 500,000 individuals annually.

Cleine mentioned the council would proceed to observe the authorized course of required to purchase the land the water provide was on. 

“It is a sluggish authorized course of that must be labored by way of. Damaging the weir and sabotaging the group provide shouldn’t be going to hurry it up.”

An lodging enterprise proprietor mentioned the water at her property had slowed to a drip over the weekend. 

Punakaiki's water supply does not reach all of the town and a permanent solution needs to be found.


Punakaiki’s water provide doesn’t attain all the city and a everlasting answer must be discovered.

The availability had resumed however they nonetheless had very low water stress on Wednesday.

She didn’t wish to be named for worry of additional damaging the enterprise’ repute. 

“We do not wish to promote the truth that our water provide is so dangerous as a result of individuals will not wish to come right here.

“We had friends asking for his or her a reimbursement as a result of they could not have a bathe. It is actually not good,” she mentioned.