Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP based in Clutha-Southland
This afternoon to a crowd of over 100 people in Mataura — Mark Patterson, New Zealand First List MP based in Clutha-Southland launched a parliamentary petition regarding the aluminium dross issue in Mataura, Southland.
The petition asks that the House Of Representatives urge the Government to take any means necessary to remove the aluminium dross from the Mataura paper mill site and relocate it to Tiwai Point.
The Mataura paper mill site stores almost 10,000 tonnes of toxic aluminium dross in the town of Mataura. Recent flooding has revealed the potential exposure of toxic ammonia gases to the populace and ecological damage to the Mataura River.
Gore District Council announced a handshake agreement with the local management, New Zealand Aluminium Smelter to fast-track removal of the dross to Tiwai Point but now the majority owner of NZAS, Rio Tinto, has reneged on that deal.
Mr Patterson said, “The launch of today’s petition demonstrates that even as the flood waters subside, we won’t stop fighting until Rio Tinto do the right thing and keep our community safe. The dross is a ticking time bomb and we need things to move quickly.”
Alongside Mr Patterson at the event, Gore District Council Mayor, Tracy Hicks gave his resounding support of the petition.
Cherie Chapman, ‘Sort out the Dross’ action group spokesperson said the group will now be ramping up the campaign and they plan to door knock all residents to deliver them the petition:
“We think Mark has been a fantastic support for Sort out the Dross right from the get go.
“He’s a great listener, always there when we need him and we’ve have appreciated his guidance on the campaign. This petition is an important step forward,” said Mrs Chapman.