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Interim CEO appointed at HBRC

27 June 2013

Interim CEO appointed at HBRC

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive Andrew Newman is to concentrate his efforts solely on Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme with an interim Chief Executive appointed at the council.

Current General Manager Operations Liz Lambert will be the interim HBRC Chief Executive taking over all responsibilities of the CEO except employment contracts for management staff. Mrs Lambert will be responsible for guiding Council through its decision on whether or not to invest in the Ruataniwha Storage Scheme following independent advice obtained by Council and following a further public consultation process.

Andrew Newman was initially seconded to HBRC’s investment company HBRIC Ltd late last year, spending 60 % of his time on the project. Mrs Lambert was appointed General Manager-Operations at that time and has been picking up several duties from Mr Newman since then. Mr Newman will continue to be Managing Director of HBRIC Ltd but will now have this role full-time and report solely to the HBRIC Ltd Board for the duration of the assessment phase.

HBRC Chairman Fenton Wilson says the level of work involved in bringing all the elements of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme together is immense, and the council felt Mr Newman needed to concentrate 100% on the task. Mr Wilson says “The time is right to ensure that the key work streams of the Scheme are lead by a person with a dedicated focus to reaching a point where it can be determined if the Scheme is financially viable”.

“If it proceeds, the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme will be the single biggest infrastructure project in Hawke’s Bay in nearly 30 years and will represent a major change in the way in which the freshwater resource is valued and utilised. The effort required to bring this type of initiative together is significant and a split focus is not realistic,’ says Fenton Wilson.

The term of Mr Newman’s secondment to HBRIC Ltd will be reviewed at two key points – the formation of a consortium based on the design and construction price (expected late in 2013) or at financial close, targeted for March/April 2014. HBRIC Ltd will recommend to Council whether or not to invest in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. The investment decision itself will be made by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council following independent advice and public consultation.

Earlier this month the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation agreed that resource consents for the $260 million dollar scheme, along with the proposed Tukituki Plan Change 6 are matters of national significance and should be considered by an independent Board of Inquiry. The first step is the appointment of a Board. From the date of public notification, the Board has nine months to make a decision.

ends

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