New Regional Council must drop Supreme Court dam bid

Press release - October 18, 2016
Greenpeace is calling on the new Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to abandon its fight to the Supreme Court over conservation land needed for the Ruataniwha Dam.

The council's investment arm, HBRIC, has sought leave to appeal a Court of Appeal decision that found a land swap for the dam was unlawful. If it wins the case, it would set a precedent that protected conservation land can be destroyed for commercial activities.

“The new council is majority anti-dam. As such, I can’t see how it would want to be associated with a ratepayer-funded legal bid to drown protected conservation land to make way for Ruataniwha," said Greenpeace Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner Genevieve Toop.

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

“Conservation land belongs to all New Zealanders. It does not belong to companies wanting to destroy it for private profit.”

The dam was the key issue local election issue in Hawke’s Bay. “Voters have given the new council a clear mandate to scrap the dam. That means dropping the court case,” said Genevieve Toop.

Greenpeace has been campaigning to stop the Ruataniwha Dam, on the basis it will mean 9,000 additional hectares of industrial dairy farming in the Bay and compound local water quality problems.