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Dam bad decision for rivers

Dam bad decision for rivers

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council can decline to fund the Ruataniwha dam and concentrate on protecting the environment rather than risking $80 million of council funds in an unsustainable irrigation scheme, the Green Party said today.

The business case presented to Council today assumes that enough land will be converted to dairy to require a new milk processing factory. But the report does not show the true cost to our rivers of more dairy conversions.

“A recent report by Parliament’s environmental watchdog, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, confirmed that even with best practice mitigation, continued large scale dairy conversions are not appropriate and will result in polluted rivers,” said Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The business case assumes that at least one third of land in the Ruataniwha scheme area will be used for dairying. This is a big shift and will result in more pollution in the Tukituki River system.

“The suppressed Department of Conservation submission on the scheme identified severe concerns with the proposal.

“The entire Tukituki Catchment Proposal, which includes the dam, reservoir and changes to the regional plan, will not protect the Tukituki. It fails to provide clear, certain and measurable mechanisms to ensure that water quality is not further degraded by nutrient pollution.

“New Zealanders want to be able to swim in our rivers. The dam scheme will mean more intensive agriculture and more pollution leaching into our waterways.

“By compromising the quality of the Hawke’s Bay rivers, lakes, aquifers and potentially the Tukituki Estuary, the dam risks severe economic and environmental harm,” she said.

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