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Ruataniwha final decision will take days to digest

Media Release

26 June 2014

Ruataniwha final decision will take days to digest

It will be at least several days before the Federation is in a position to comment on the final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry.

“We jumped a high fence yesterday with the council vote, but until we digest the Board of Inquiry’s final decision, we don’t know if we’ve jumped the Board of Inquiry one,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“I will be honest and say it will be days until we are in a position to make any comment.

“We are talking 17 volumes across 168.4MB of data. It’s like The Luminaries in scope and until we can look at the decision in its entirety, we cannot comment on the summary or individual parts. I am afraid this is one time where it will take time to read and digest.

“That said yesterday, Hawke’s Bay’s political leaders listened to the community’s voice expressed through consultation and a physical show of support for Ruataniwha

“I’d like to single out Councillor Beaven for praise. He showed true grit in breaking ranks with the minority of councillors opposing Ruataniwha. That took real guts and we won’t forget it or the way farmers and the community came together for Ruataniwha.

“The Tukituki Plan Change is, first and foremost, an environmental solution to help tackle nuisance algae found in the Tukituki during summer. You could say it is an environmental solution with incredibly strong economic benefits by way of storing rainwater.

“That’s why ratepayer investment is capped at $80 million out of the $275 million build cost. Farmers like me will need to put in upwards of $400 million more of our own money to build the on-farm infrastructure.

“The private dollar could take the lead here but the environment could also benefit.

“Members of Federated Farmers are absolutely committed to the environmental sustainability of our farms. We also want to see our children swimming in an algae-bloom free river and a water storage dam will contribute positively to both outcomes.

“But only if that dam stacks up as a commercial investment and that’s now the key here. I know investors are in the wings for Ruataniwha but their involvement hinges on the plan change being economically viable.

“If we don’t see movement towards that then we’ll lose not just the dam, but put the viability of farming on the fertile Ruataniwha plains in jeopardy.

“In the meantime, I am proud of the place I call home because the Bay has shown to New Zealand that it wants a strong future. Let’s hope those holding the pen agree,” Mr Foley concluded.


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