Govt plan for Hawke’s Bay glosses over dam risks

Press release - July 27, 2016
A regional growth plan announced by the Government in the Hawke’s Bay today ignores the environmental fallout of the Ruataniwha Dam and the fact taxpayers will be burdened with the cost of building it, says Greenpeace.

Ministers Joyce, Guy and Flavell were in Napier this morning launching the Hawke's Bay Regional Development Strategy and Action Plan, which mentions the dam.

“Today’s report completely glosses over the environmental damage the dam would cause,” said Greenpeace campaigner Genevieve Toop, who was at the launch in Napier. “Ruataniwha is a golden ticket to intensive dairying in the Hawke’s Bay, which will pollute local rivers and increase climate emissions.

“Over two thirds of New Zealand’s rivers are now too polluted to swim in safely. We should be cleaning them up and protecting them, not building irrigation schemes that will make the problem worse.”

“The economics of Ruataniwha are also incredibly sketchy. Costs keep skyrocketing, key investors have walked away and now the Government plans to prop up the scheme with taxpayers’ money.

“This means ordinary New Zealanders will be forced to shoulder the costs and risks of a dam that does not stack up economically or environmentally.

It’s understood  ACC will be brought in as a major investor in the dam.

“If ACC’s brought in, Hawke’s Bay residents will be forced to pay three times over for the polluting scheme – once through their taxes, again through their rates and again through ACC levies,” said Ms Toop.

 A public petition calling for a ban on public subsidies for large-scale irrigation projects has attracted over 33,000 signatures (1)