Lobby group calls for Ruataniwha submissions

By Sam Hurley sam.hurley@hbtoday.co.nz

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Encouragement for public submissions to the Board of Inquiry, that will review of the impacts of the proposed Ruataniwha water scheme, were called for last night at a public meeting in Clive.

The meeting was called by Transparent Hawke's Bay which continues to lobby Hawke's Bay Regional Council asking for the water scheme to be paused while the project's impact on ratepayers is identified.

Massey University associate professor and local government expert Christine Cheyne was a guest speaker at the evening and said the proposed scheme was an important issue that all the communities of Hawke's Bay will have to deal with.

"I would just like to encourage people to make submissions to the board of enquiry both as individuals and as group submissions."

The regional council's Tukituki catchment will go to an independent Board of Inquiry, to be considered alongside the Ruataniwha scheme.

The board will consider the construction and operation of the dam, reservoir and irrigation infrastructure and will deliver a decision within nine months.

Transparent Hawke's Bay chairperson Pauline Elliot said a great deal of public engagement is required and public comment last night indicated people are largely still confused about the details that have been released on the scheme.

"We don't know how much it will cost or how much farmers will pay for the water - financial structures, investment companies, we don't know any of this stuff."

John Cheyne from the Te Taiao Environment Forum said there had been some positive things about the project but there were a number of negatives.

Local man Tom Belford said there was not enough information and confidence in the proposition for those who will have to bare the cost.

"Why should we have confidence that this is nailed down and will work? Why isn't the council telling the rest of us what the deal is when we have to pay for it?"

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule and Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott had written to the regional council asking for an independent review of the Ruataniwha water storage scheme.

The mayors said they were not opposed to the scheme but wanted to make sure the ratepayer risk was considered or accounted for in the regional council's plan to promote the project.

 

- Hawkes Bay Today

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