A landowner has applied for a court injunction to stop the chlorination of water intakes.
Landowner Phillip Nicholas has applied to the High Court to order an immediate stop to the installation, connection, fitting and testing of any disinfection equipment in Avana Valley.
The Crown is also asked for an assurance that no disinfection chemicals have been taken up to the Avana intake. If there are any, they would have to be removed immediately.
The application asks that the government undertake a “meaningful and formal consultation” with Nicholas, the aronga mana and the land-owners of the Avana valley to obtain their formal consent to install any disinfection equipment there.
It comes after criticism of the public consultation process, branded a “sham” when it emerged that water authority To Tatou Vai had already sought a supplier for up to 100 tonnes of chlorination chemicals.
Cook Islands Investment Corporation, which manages land matters, says it will comply with any court order from Justice Patrick Keane.
In the application, Nicholas says neither he, the aronga mana nor the landowners has agreed to the installation of disinfection equipment.
They have reason to believe that the government decision to install a system of disinfection using chlorination was pre-determined, he says, before any consent was obtained from landowners and before the public consultation meetings took place.
Cook Islands Investment Corporation’s Tamarii Tutangata said the landowners were entitled to ask questions through the Court. “That is exactly why applications lay in Court so that parties can apply for urgent relief,” said Tutangata, the Asset Management Cook Islands general manager.
Financial secretary Garth Henderson said: “I am not fully aware of the legal consequences of this application at this point in time, however I do have confidence that the rule of law will prevail and rights of all parties will be respected.”