Regional Councillors Barker, Beaven, Graham and myself are conducting four public forums throughout Hawke’s Bay in March to discuss water storage in HB and the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

I hope you’ll attend one of these sessions … and spread the word about them.

The dates and locations are:

  • March 3, 6pm – Hastings, Karamu High School
  • March 10, 6pm – Waipawa, CHB Municipal Theatre
  • March 21, 6pm – Wairoa, Gaiety Theatre
  • March 24, 6pm – Napier, Napier Boys High School

At this point, it looks highly unlikely that HBRIC can establish that it can meet the conditions for a viable project by its current  publicly-stated deadline of 31 March … if ever.

The forums are intended to update the public on the current proposal’s status, present the reservations we four councillors have at this stage, and learn what concerns the public wishes to see addressed by HBRC during the final decision process.

Too many of the underlying claims and assumptions underlying this project have changed — without further public examination — since this proposal was first tabled. Despite three-plus years of advocacy by project supporters, the public still lacks essential information on the key environmental and financial assumptions and risks underlying this $600 million proposal.  It’s time to right the balance and give our community a final opportunity to have their questions answered before any final decision on the dam is made.

We four councillors all agree that water storage — including on-farm storage — is important to Hawke’s Bay’s future success. But we are not convinced this dam is the best option for our money. Nor are we convinced that this scheme will not further degrade the Tukituki River.

The format will include brief presentations by the four councillors, followed by what we hope will be a robust and illuminating Q&A session. While we’re not planning a debate, we’ve invited our fellow regional councillors to attend and participate if they wish from the floor.

For too long the information flow on the dam has been meager, in many cases disingenuous, and highly controlled by HBRIC and its supporting cast at HBRC. Our intention is to lay out out the concerns we have, as fully and candidly as we possibly can.

It’s time for some fresh air!

Tom Belford

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7 Comments

  1. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I have just read in todays paper that Chairman “Black Pete” actually agrees with what you are doing, that would have to be celebrated by you guys wouldn’t it!!
    The TAB bookmakers in Wellington have gone broke with the payout!

  2. Be careful that the blame for the scheme going belly-up is not transferred to the four Hastings Councillors for their public campaign against it.

    One thing (among the many) that intrigues me, is how HBRIC can put the sale of water contracts “on hold” while they get a firm contract with their “corporate/institutional/private” investors. Surely any investor would want to be assured of an adequate cash flow before signing on? Business 101? Is there a public subsidy in there somewhere that we have not been told about?

  3. Ian,
    Are there investors out there willing to risk their millions and millions for a zero return??
    I’m not that sure that these 4 councilor’s are against this Dam, but more the process, and they way it has been handled and forced upon the ratepayers with Deceit hidden agendas and the like, I’m sure if there had been more inclusive and up front honesty, they would have achieved a far far better response, I can even go back to when they sold off the Land leases, and not a single Ratepayer had a clue as to what was going on in behind the scenes, the whole Dam scene stinks of utter contempt and deceit! it’s coming weather you want it or not so shut the heck up and accept it.
    I am also really concerned about a couple of Muppet!!! Councilors, are they still in Office? or are they completely GAGGED from everything about the Dam, this whole thing should be scrapped as of now, and started up again from the beginning, without such a thing as the HBRCI!! open and honest discussion should be entered into, with all ratepayers input taken into account, as it stands right now to this very day, this I assume is like living in North Korea…..SHOCKING!!!

  4. well William, it is exactly like living in North Korea. Senior HBRIC staff/Directors refuse to answer questions put by elected Councillors. Andrew Newman seems to be running both HBRIC and HBRC. There are too many “Public Excluded” sessions, there are verbal rather than written reports by senior staff and one committee chairman.
    Yes the voting still goes 5 – 4 on important issues. The Napier members are truly “muppets”.

  5. Institutional investors will run a mile [if they have any sense] after doing due diligence on the Dam proposal.

    The business case, now many years old and significantly out of date, was pretty basic. The sensitivity analysis applied to [some of] the variables was superficial and very amateurish. Even then it showed that it was only with rose coloured spectacles was it possible to make a reasonable return on the financial investment.

    I have previously asked HBRIC at a public meeting to say when the $80m ratepayer owned investment would be returned, and what the return on that investment would be. After 15 minutes of babble there was still no answer.

    Recently HBRIC has given an indication what would happen. To paraphrase . . “a proportion of the return would be an improvement of some [unnamed, and unidentified] environmental benefits to all of Hawkes Bay”. That means there is no direct financial return. The $80m effectively becomes a tax on all regional ratepayers, and is therefore unlikely to be returned at any time in the future.

    So what would a prospective institutional investor make of that? If they have any financial sense they will be able to scale up the $80m to their level of proposed investment and see what happens. How are they going to create a reasonable return on their investment if the Regional Council is already saying that they can’t. I don’t think institutional investors are going to leap in to help subsidise environmental improvements in Hawkes Bay. They want a financial return, and something significantly greater than the cost of capital, otherwise they will take their money elsewhere.

    It’s time HBRIC stopped wasting our money, and it is time we told the Directors to pull the plug on this fiasco.

  6. Nice sound bites on Radio NZ this morning following the presentation at Karamu last night.
    Keep up the good work. I can’t imagine how tiring that 5-4 division must be. We need you guys to stick to your point of view. Your voting records on the dam are far more representative of the Hawkes Bay community at this point.

  7. Would Councilor Belford please explain why he voted against the motion at the meeting the other day after championing for the motion every day of his council life up until this vote??
    I think a lot of us require an explanation here!!??

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