On the one hand, the HBRC says,’Trust us, we can manage a $600 million water storage scheme. Don’t worry about the details.”
On the other hand, consider the responsibilities involved and HBRC’s track record …
- Oversight and accountability for managing major construction project — leaky roof on HBRC headquarters will cost $2.2 million to repair. ‘Let’s pass the blame to Napier Council’s building inspectors’, say some regional councillors.
- Stimulating economic development — after many regular quarterly reports from Hawke’s Bay Tourism, HBRC still can’t figure out if its tourism agency and strategy is working or not; while its economic development surrogate, Business Hawke’s Bay is floundering, according to its last manager, Murray Douglas.
- Competence to care for a major body of stored water — think about the state of Lake Tutira … ever been worse?
- Commitment to manage intensified farming for environmental impacts — signaling its aversion to needed (dare I say the word?) regulation, HBRC giddily embraces the new voluntary ‘Dairy Accord’, which adds two more years for meeting clean-up goals originally set in 2003. While according to MAF 2011 report, only 42% of farms had fenced and completely excluded stock from all streams which met the accord definition of streams; only 57% of accord waterways across or adjacent to surveyed farms were completed fenced and protected.
These are day-to-day tasks the Regional Council can’t seem to get a grip on.
What confidence should we have in HBRC’s ability to manage a $600 million water scheme — one that’s still today being ‘refined’ daily, with a rushed work program that’s grinding down staff and bringing other HBRC work programs to a standstill?
Too fast. Too murky. Too little independent scrutiny. Too mysterious to the rate- and tax-paying public … and even to other elected officials in Hawke’s Bay.
Sounds like a recipe for another, much more expensive, leaky roof.