Greenpeace calls out meaningless moratorium

Press release - December 14, 2016
Greenpeace is calling out the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on a so-called moratorium on the Ruataniwha dam.

The Council is voting on a “moratorium” on the dam today. Greenpeace understands this will not include a prohibition on the Council's own legal action to acquire specially protected conservation land.

“It would be misleading of the Council to tell the public that a moratorium is in place when in truth it is still supporting a ratepayer-funded legal bid to drown protected conservation land to make way for the Ruataniwha dam," said Greenpeace campaigner Genevieve Toop.

“The definition of moratorium is a temporary prohibition of activity.  That should include this legal activity and we are calling on the Council to pull out of the case."

The Council's investment arm, HBRIC along with Minister of Conservation were yesterday granted leave to appeal a previous Court of Appeal decision that found downgrading specially protected conservation land to make way for the dam was unlawful.

"Conservation land belongs to all New Zealanders and not to companies wanting to destroy it for private profit," Toop said.

“If the Council’s investment arm pursues and wins this case, 22ha of protected conservation land would be drowned. More importantly, it sets a precedent whereby all of New Zealand’s specially protected conservation land can have its status downgraded at any time to make way for commercial activities like mining and industrial irrigation.”

Greenpeace has been campaigning to stop the Ruataniwha Dam because it will mean the expansion of industrial dairying in Hawke’s Bay and more pollution of local rivers.