Yesterday was a significant date on the calendar of the controversial Ruataniwha Dam.

It was D-day for farmers to sign up to receive water from the dam. This is significant because 45 million cubic metres of water has to be signed up before the Hawke's Bay Regional Council will invest the remaining $66 million into the dam.

I would love to have a big headline on the front page of the paper this week telling you whether or not this target had been achieved.

Either way, it would have been of tremendous interest to our readers. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you if the threshold for the project continuing has been met or not.


The Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company, the investment arm of the regional council, will not tell us. Its chief executive, Andrew Newman, said the figures would not be released until it had reported back to its shareholder, the regional council, and potential investors. We could wait for two weeks before hearing.


This is information that needs to be made public as soon as possible. I understand the need to report back to council but I reckon two weeks is too long. The next scheduled council meeting is on April 27 but the council is holding an extraordinary meeting tomorrow to discuss, behind close doors, the Napier-Gisborne rail link.

Surely an issue as vital as the dam deserves its own special meeting, or could have been included on tomorrow's agenda.

I understand that there are commercial sensitivities involved but ratepayers are also investing in the project, so deserve to know as soon as possible.