Greenpeace at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council meeting to push for end to dam

Press release - August 31, 2016
Greenpeace will use today’s monthly Hawke’s Bay Regional Council meeting to pressure councillors to scrap the Ruataniwha Dam.

“Just over a month out from local elections, and in the wake of the gastro outbreak, this council does not have a mandate to allow the Ruataniwha dam to proceed, ” Greenpeace Agriculture Campaigner Genevieve Toop said from Napier.

“In light of what’s happened in Havelock North and people’s growing concern over water quality, we’re calling on the regional council to scrap the dam. It needs to start putting people’s health before industrial dairying."

Ms Toop said one of the main purposes of the Ruataniwha Dam was to enable more industrial dairying in Hawke’s Bay.

"This will further pollute local waterways, and heighten the threat of Havelock North-type outbreaks.We cannot risk a repeat of what’s happened in the last few weeks.”

Greenpeace is not alone in calling on the council to drop the dam. Over the last week, five and a half thousand people from around the country have emailed the councillors asking them to halt the scheme, in order to prevent more pressure on New Zealand’s waterways (1).

“People are putting two and two together, and realising that big irrigation schemes like Ruataniwha increase the risk to New Zealand’s waterways,” said Ms Toop.

Despite the risks, the Government is throwing over half a billion taxpayer dollars at industrial irrigation schemes, not just in the Hawke’s Bay but across the country, and local councils are pouring in millions of dollars of ratepayers’ money.

“We should be cleaning up and protecting our rivers and water supplies, not building giant irrigation schemes that will further pollute them,” said Ms Toop.