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.

Tom Belford

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2 Comments

  1. The Hawkes Bay Regional Council dried up my permanently running stream and all its springs by over drainage; I wouldn’t trust them to complete any activity for a positive outcome!

    Their past activities have resulted in the loss of many millions of dollars of farm and orchard productivity along with permanent environmental destruction and the loss of plant species that used to mat stream banks in place in Hawkes Bay.

    My observations of their activities over the years has been totally destructive and this project will be no different.

    The drainage of the lake in the Paki Paki Waipawa area where ships had direct access to the sea”’and provided for the reserve water we needed for our dry summers has been drained away by the HBRC and their predecessors The Hawkes Bay Catchment Board; THIS HAS RESULTED IN A HUGE LOSS OF INTERNATIONAL BIRD LIFE ALONG WITH NATIVE SPECIES! a complete destruction of natural habitat.

    They want 600 million to replace part of what they already destroyed……..you have got to be joking!

  2. The problem with out democratic system is those who are elected to public office end up as not being held responsible for their actions.
    The leaky and sinking Hawkes Bay Regional Council (HBRC) building is a case in point.
    When this building was originally designed and priced, the first set of plans were rejected by the elected council as being too costly, a second structural option was put forward and accepted due to a lower cost. (Never buy on price alone)

    A senior and very well qualified staff member of the HBRC reviewed these plans and at the time informed the council of the actual and pending flaws in the design. The qualified opinions were rejected and discarded, the building went ahead and as tax payers, we now pay the price
    Is it not interesting that the HBRC is always full of advice (that’s their purpose) yet did not listen to or take heed of their own internal competent, experienced and professionals advisers.

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