Regional council chairman to meet farmers

By Nicki Harper

5 comments
Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham has agreed to meet CHB farmers to discuss the Ruataniwha Dam.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham has agreed to meet CHB farmers to discuss the Ruataniwha Dam.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham is to meet a group of Central Hawke's Bay farmers this week to share views on the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

Last week, some members of the Ruataniwha water user group called for the newly elected chairman to actually go to CHB and meet them, and he has heeded that call.

"We're going to meet at a farmer's house and have a chat and share our respective views," he said.

User group member Jerry Greer, a beef and dairy farmer from the Argyll area, welcomed the move.

"We have a new council and we need to have a starting point and go from there - whether or not that's fruitful we will just have to wait and see."

There was a call last month for a moratorium on any further action on the dam for the new council to take stock of the situation.

Last week, Mr Graham said that would include examining why only 42.8 million cubic metres of water had been sold to date, and why there was no word on a commercial investor.

In addition, Hawke's Bay Regional Council Investment Company's (HBRIC) leave of appeal in the Supreme Court had yet to be heard, as well as any activity to secure needed land under the Public Works Act.

In July, the council authorised a drawdown of $80 million, less development costs, for investment in the scheme, having agreed that three of the four conditions required for it to proceed had been met.

The council heard that the scheme's fourth and final condition relating to investment was almost satisfied and would be confirmed in the next few weeks, on which there had still been no word.

According to Local Government New Zealand, it is possible for an incoming council to change a decision made by a former council - but this will depend on the significance of the decision, and how far implementation of it had progressed.

In the case of a major or significant decision, a council would need to amend its long term plan and consult with the community - a process which could be very costly.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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