At the invitation of BayBuzz and the Hawke’s Bay Environmental Water Group, MPs Craig Foss and Chris Tremain devoted several hours today to a Tukituki field trip.

Conservationists Bill Dodds, John Scott and David Renouf led the site
visit and delivered a running commentary on the effluents flowing into
the river from the treatment facilities at Otane, Waipukurau and Waipawa. BayBuzz tagged along.

As BayBuzz has previously reported, at issue is the status of wastewater treatment at facilities emptying into the Tukituki. Also at issue is the inaction of and disinformation provided by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council in the face of recurring violations of effluent guidelines by these facilities.

Armed with water quality measurement data and a treasury of
photographs, the Water Group guys present an alarming case. But as the
saying goes, “you gotta see it to believe it.” And see it we did.

Suffice it to say that the MPs got an eyeful and earful … it was quite windy out there today, so their noses were spared.

We won’t presume to speak for the MPs. They absorbed a great deal of information, which they now need to sort for themselves. But from their questions and observations, we’d be surprised if they don’t wade into the water issue. Indeed their reactions give hope that the MPs might take a closer look at water issues throughout the Bay, including the Mohaka.

The Regional Council — Councillors and staff — has been dismissive of the Water Group guys, fighting them all the way through the Environment Court, which then substantially toughened the consents that are now being violated.

Foss and Tremain were not dismissive.

Perhaps today will mark a turning point in how our elected officeholders both listen to and act upon environmental concerns. BayBuzz will be waiting expectantly to see how the boys from Backing the Bay respond in the weeks ahead.

Tom & Mark

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