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HB Regional Council = Arrogance

HB Regional Council = Arrogance

Tom Belford
April 8 2013

If you wanted one word to define the mind-set of the HB Regional Council, ‘arrogance’ would be a good place to start.

Last night, Campbell Live broadcast this report, focused on the Tukituki, on cyanobacteria, a poisonous algae that has killed dogs swimming in the Tukituki and poses a health threat to humans.

As it was reported, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council refused to discuss with Campbell Live this recent case of a dog dying after swimming in the Tukituki.

In fact, Campbell Live approached HBRC four times regarding the story, at one point simply asking why HBRC had no interest in even investigating the incident that was being reported. [Recall, there was a similar incident a few month's previous.]

“We were surprised they didn’t even want to hear the details or whereabouts of this dog’s death,” reporter Rebecca Wright told me in a phone interview today.

Now, a decision not talk to a national TV broadcast like Campbell Live is not made by worker-bee communications staff at HBRC. It’s a decision made at the top.

And at the top of HBRC, arrogance reigns. They regard an informed public as a nuisance.

Why would they not want to talk on national television about cyanobacteria in the Tukituki River?

As BayBuzz reported here, cyanobacteria is a by-product of nitrate pollution in the water, and there will be a helluva lot more nitrates in the Tukituki if HBRC’s dam is built. Nitrates come from farm run-off, and the dam is intended to enable intensified farming in the catchment.

You might ask: Well, can’t they just manage that extra pollution somehow?

In theory, maybe. But the HBRC has made clear that it does not want to manage nitrates in the Tukituki so as to control algae. They claim they don’t need to.

Managing nitrates in the Tukituki would require significantly tougher mitigation measures (with associated costs), especially on the farms benefiting from the dam’s irrigation water. That makes the project still more expensive overall, which is not good news for the farmers already balking at buying into the scheme … or for project’s potential investors.

HBRC doesn’t want embarrassing news about the Tukituki these days.

But these are precisely the issues about the dam that we should be thrashing out here in our region, now that pertinent facts are becoming available, before rushing off for a Wellington blessing.

Are you ready yet to demand a ‘time out’ in this dam consenting process?!

P.S. Watch the report. Our Hawke’s Bay DHB voices concerns about the situation, but ‘no comment’ from the HBRC.


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