Early this morning, we travelled to the proposed site of the Ruataniwha irrigation dam in Hawke’s Bay. With a small crane we uplifted the construction site office, put it on the back of a truck and drove it 100kms to Napier.  There we left it at the door of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC).

There is huge opposition to the Ruataniwha dam because it would drive industrial dairying and further pollute Hawke’s Bay’s freshwater.  It would also need to be subsidised with millions of tax and ratepayer dollars.

Over 40,000 people have already signed the petition to stop Government-funded river pollution, and 8,500 have sent a direct message to the HBRC – it’s clear as day that this is an issue that deeply resonates with New Zealanders.

If the Ruataniwha dam goes ahead, it will have ramifications for the future security of clean water right across New Zealand.  Several think-big irrigation schemes designed to expand industrial dairying are planned throughout the country and their promoters are hoping Ruataniwha sets a precedent and gets the green light.

But the water contamination crisis in Havelock North should have been the massive wake-up call the HBRC needed to pull the plug on the Ruataniwha Dam. Local waterways in Hawke’s Bay are already polluted and under pressure.

The council needs to put people’s health before more industrial dairying and publicly announce that the dam will not proceed.

It’s time to shift away from the broken industrial dairying model to a new era of ecological farming which looks after our land, our people and our water.

There’s still time to have your voice heard – sign on to stop Government-funded River Pollution – ecological farming is much better for our rivers, our land, and our international reputation. It’s this that the government should be backing, not some failed industrial dairying model.