New Zealand Labour Party

Dam not out of doldrums yet

Ruataniwha Dam promoters Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) still has hurdles to clear and a lot of work to do before ratepayers and taxpayers will have confidence in the scheme, says Labour’s MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri.

“We need sustainable water management for all users in the region but so far, many more things have gone wrong rather than right for Ruataniwha.

“HBRIC have contracted less than 43 million cubic metres of the 45 million cubic metre target they needed to have confirmed by 18 April.

“This project is still going to cost nearly $1 billion and Forest & Bird have their appeal pending against a High Court decision on the Department of Conservation ‘land swap’ deal.

“I don’t believe a water scheme massively subsidised with public money – which will also lead to increased river pollution – is going to make this region wealthier.

“HBRIC have burnt up a lot of goodwill with the public in the way they have managed this project so far.

“They need to complete their contract negotiations and produce updated figures before they can expect the public to have confidence in this going ahead,” says Meka Whaitiri.