The decision by the Central Hawkes Bay Council to abandon their present free water supply and buy water from the controversial Ruataniwha dam is a disgrace, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.
“This is nothing less than an attempt to make the poor ratepayers of Waipawa and Waipukurau foot the bill for a scheme that simply doesn’t have the financial backing to go ahead.
“The fact that the Council’s development company HBRIC can only get 55 per cent of the required sign-up by farmers for water from the scheme paints a clear picture of a project in deep trouble.
“The Council has been told that a full uptake of water from Ruataniwha will add to the rates bill. At present the central Hawkes Bay towns draw their water free from the Tukituki river.
“This is nothing short of a ratepayer’s subsidy for a scheme that the council claims will improve the river’s environment. They seem to ignore that fact that a massive dam will also have a huge environmental impact on the Tukituki.
“This was decided at a secret meeting yesterday and what is worrying is that council has obviously considered no alternative to this millstone around the neck of Hawkes Bay ratepayers,“ says Meka Whaitiri.