In an extraordinary move, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment company has said it’s taking the first step in the process of acquiring land needed for the Ruataniwha Dam under the Public Works Act.

The company also today applied for leave to appeal a Court of Appeal decision that found a DOC land swap for the dam was illegal.(1) It intends to pursue both avenues in parallel.

“Not content with appealing a major court decision using public money, HBRIC also looks set to run roughshod over the law and public opinion and try to forcibly remove this piece of public conservation land,” said Greenpeace Sustainable Agriculture campaigner Genevieve Toop.

“This is a hugely controversial move. If HBRIC continues down this path there’s going to be a massive public outcry.

“Apart from anything else, they should not be considering removing public land for a private irrigation scheme that will only benefit 192 landowners.”

Jim Scotland of HBRIC told a Hawke’s Bay Regional Council meeting today that HBRIC were going ahead with an application under the Public Works Act “for the whole of the reservoir and dam footprint area…”

“This shows an extraordinary level of arrogance and presumption,” said Genevieve Toop.

She said the Crown would ultimately have to sign off the land acquisition. “The good news is, I  cannot see how John Key would dare step into this fight –  not with the controversy surrounding the dam and not with the state of water quality in Hawke’s Bay.”

Greenpeace is calling for the dam to be scrapped, because it will mean more industrial dairy farming and further pollution of local waterways in Hawke’s Bay.


(1) New Zealand Herald: Fight over controversial land swap to continue in Supreme Court