By PETER CATON
THE "water people" have welcomed support from the Murwillumbah business community in the wake of an investigation launched by the NSW government.
Wadan Kurare, the general manager of Hermes Far Eastern Shining Pty Ltd, spoke to 90 people at a business breakfast in Murwillumbah yesterday.
His public address came a day after the NSW Fair Trading Department decided to launch an investigation into the company as a result of a series of article's examining its activities, published in the Daily News.
Mr Kurare told the gathering his group had received strong support in the wake of "some colourful press in the last few days".
Sitting next to former National Party MP Don Beck, Mr Kurare said support from people in Murwillumbah had been "quite incredible".
At the same table Kirra Springs, manager of Luffley Cafe, sat next to Mr Beck's wife, former Tweed mayor Lynne Beck.
Mr Kurare said many people had offered the company "absolutely wonderful encouragement and words of support".
"Obviously it's a challenging time for us and our families and friends," he added.
"The quality of any organisation can be seen in how they deal with adversity. We will keep walking for-ward with our heads up."
Mr Kurare told the meeting he could not begin to "address or correct" claims made in the series of Daily News articles in the past three editions, but invited those attending to pick up one of his business cards which he left on a table and contact him later.
He was loudly applauded.
Murwillumbah Business Chamber secretary Bob Robertson responded saying: "I know the chamber supports you. We appreciate the work you do in this town".
Other leading business people along with Tweed Shire Council general manager Mike Rayner and Tweed Valley Banana Festival president Ian Ross also attended the breakfast.
Speaking privately later several business people congratulated the Daily News on "some interesting stories".
Members of the Hermes group believe their leader Gerald Attrill, also known as Jessa O'My Heart, is an alchemist and Jesus Christ incarnate.
Their "empowered" water products range in price from $30 to $30,000 and are sold locally and internationally.