Russel Norman to ACC: don't invest in Ruataniwha Dam

Press release - September 8, 2016
Greenpeace NZ Executive Director Russel Norman has written to ACC Investment Manager Nicholas Bagnall, warning him against investing in the controversial Ruataniwha Dam.

“By investing in the dam, you risk leaving a legacy of freshwater pollution that will impact generations to come,” said Dr Norman in the letter.

“In light of the recent gastro illness outbreak in Havelock North, it would be wrong for ACC to step in and enable this project to proceed.”

ACC is tipped as the dam’s institutional investor, without which the billion dollar think-big scheme isn’t viable.

“If ACC puts money into the scheme, that means every New Zealander who drives a car or receives a pay cheque will be forced to prop up a highly controversial industrial irrigation project that doesn’t add up environmentally or financially,” said Russel Norman.

He said the Ruataniwha Dam would intensify agriculture - particularly dairy farming - in Hawke’s Bay. “Local waterways in the region are already polluted and under pressure. The dam will compound these problems. We cannot risk a repeat of what’s just happened in Havelock North.”

All indications were the dam was a poor investment decision. “Costs have skyrocketed, key investors have walked away and economists are calling it a ‘lemon’ that should be abandoned.

“Certainly it makes no sense for an organisation dedicated to returning New Zealanders to good health to invest in something that puts public health at risk. Nor is it consistent with the fiduciary duty of the ACC Board.”

Over 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for no Government funding of industrial irrigation schemes. (1)

To read the full letter from Russel Norman to Nicholas Bagnall go to click here.