Greens criticised after being forced to go 'against party kaupapa'

The Green Party has been forced to swallow a bitter pill, with one of its ministers granting a Chinese water bottling company permission to expand.

Party co-leader Marama Davidson says the decision is "against party kaupapa and policy" and supporters are unhappy, but there is nothing the Greens can do.

On Tuesday Eugenie Sage, the Minister for Land Information, announced the Government had granted Creswell NZ Limited permission to buy rural land near Whakatane to expand the Otakiri Springs bottling plant.

The Green Party has long campaigned against overseas companies taking water for bottling, especially without a levy, and for mana whenua to be involved in water bottling decisions.

Creswell NZ is owned by Nongfu Spring Co Limited, one of China's bottled water suppliers.

Ms Sage, a Green MP, said she was unable to factor in environmental or Treaty of Waitangi concerns when granting the consent under the Overseas Investment Act.

A quick glance at her Facebook post shows more 900 comments, many of them critical of her decision.

Ms Davidson says there's "widespread concern" from the party's members.

"This is not a decision that aligns with Green Party kaupapa and policy," she said, but the minister "was constrained by the law".

"We are now aware that the changes must be made through the Overseas Investment Act so that we don't have to make these decisions further down the track."

She warns this won't be the first time the party is forced to act against its own values, as part of its confidence and supply agreement with Labour and its ministerial positions.

"We're aware of many things in the pipeline that make it hard for us to make good decisions," says Ms Davidson.

"We want to push for economic discussions that value the environmental and Treaty considerations in it. We will keep pushing for the water bottling levies as well."

A Newshub poll last year found 87 percent of New Zealanders wanted to see water-bottling companies paying tax. Labour and New Zealand First have committed to introducing a royalty on exports of bottled water in their coalition agreement

Creswell NZ was granted its application conditional on it providing 60 full-time jobs in the area within four years and getting the necessary resource consents, and Ms Sage says this will be strictly monitored.