Today is D Day for assessing the viability of the Ruataniwha Dam and its backers still have to offer up some concrete answers on the future of the scheme, says Labour’s Spokesperson for Water Meka Whaitiri.
“The Hawkes Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) set this morning as the deadline for the project finances to be lined up.
“To meet the water-contract threshold, farmers needed to sign up for 45 million cubic metres. A few days ago HBRIC said only about 25 million cubic metres of water, or just over 55% of the target, had been sold.
“ I won’t be surprised - but will be very disappointed - if the deadline is pushed out again. At some point it has to be said that enough is enough.
“We are over five years into this project, Council has already spent about $15 million of ratepayers' money on the development, and yet HBRIC is still scrambling at the last minute to find the necessary water uptake to satisfy its conditions.
“The lack of compelling business case is why Trustpower and Ngai Tahu walked away – and why they still haven’t been replaced as cornerstone investors.
“Ratepayers are being put through a very drawn-out process because HBRIC still hasn’t met the requirements of a sound investment. I sincerely hope that today, the Council is taking a long hard look at the future of this scheme, rather than using the time to come up with more excuses to push out deadlines,” says Meka Whaitiri.