Ratepayers could subsidise Ruataniwha dam after secret meeting

A secret meeting tomorrow of the Central Hawkes Bay District Council may foreshadow a council bid to abandon their current town water supply and buy water from the Ruataniwha project, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. 

“This appears to be a shameful attempt by the Council and its investment company HBRIC to make the Ruataniwha financially viable at any cost.

“Waipawa and Waipukurau currently draw their water from the Tukituki River free at just the cost of the consent rental. If ratepayers buy their water from the Ruataniwha project they will face a rates hike. 

“The meeting where this will be apparently discussed is closed to the public. 

“It’s interesting that these dodgy manoeuvres are happening in the face of today’s deadline on the scheme’s future. We know that farmers have only signed up for 25 million cubic metres of water, or just 55 per cent of the target. 

“The council has already spent $15 million dollars of ratepayers money on this project  and yet they are now attempting to sting ratepayers by buying water from the Ruataniwha. 

“There is a lack of a compelling business case because HBRIC has met none of the guidelines for what would be a sound investment,” says Meka Whaitiri.