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Board of Inquiry Decision

Media Release
15 April 2014

Board of Inquiry Decision

The chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Investment Company (HBRIC Ltd) says he is pleased with the decision by the Board of Inquiry to grant resource consent for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

The Environmental Protection Authority released the board’s 700 page decision document today which gives consent to build the scheme and also finalises the Tukituki Plan Change 6, which sets minimum flows and water quality measures for the catchment.

HBRIC Ltd Chairman Andy Pearce says this is a major step forward for the water storage scheme, however there are some significant elements of the plan change decision that need to be considered.

“It reflects the enormous amount of time and effort that has been put into this project over the last few years by Council & HBRIC Ltd staff, and the quality of work from our consultants and advisers,” says Dr Pearce.

Council staff and consultants are currently looking at the detail of Tukituki Plan Change 6 and will be providing comment on the draft decision back to the board within 20 working days.

There are still a number of steps that need to be taken before the project gets final approval, which include getting confirmed water contracts from farmers, finalising investors and a final design & construction contract.

Meanwhile, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chairman Fenton Wilson says while the board has endorsed many aspects of the Council's Proposed Plan Change 6, it has chosen a more conservative approach on nitrate management.

“A huge amount of work has been done to understand the Tukituki Catchment and how we can best improve the water quality and quantity. This decision acknowledges that work and issues raised during the Board of Inquiry hearing,” says Mr Wilson.

Mr Wilson says the Council is already looking at how it will work with the community to implement the Plan Change for the benefit of all river users.

Submitters now have 20 working days to comment on the draft decision, before a final decision is released in late May.

Given the decision is around 700 pages long Council staff are now analysising it and a media conference will be held at 12.30pm tomorrow (Wednesday 16 April) where staff will be able to give a more considered response to the decision.

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