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Bechtel involvement in Project Aqua grave concern

Bechtel involvement in Project Aqua a grave concern

News that the Bechtel Group is likely to partner Meridian Energy if resource consent is granted for the $1.2 billion Waitaki River power scheme known as Project Aqua is cause for grave concern, according to Democrat Leader Stephnie de Ruyter.

“Bechtel’s reputation as an expensive, big business, public works bulldozer is well known,” claimed Ms de Ruyter. “Given the public nature of the project and its funding, Meridian Energy would have been wise to offer the proposed partnership plans for public debate.”

“Transparent processes and open debate build confidence in the ability of the parties involved to be fair-minded,” noted Ms de Ruyter. “But secret, closed door negotiations lead to speculation and suspicion that the outcomes of discussions, or resource consent applications, are a foregone conclusion.”

Ms de Ruyter noted that the likely involvement of the Bechtel Group will be the result of a secret decision-making process. “The social, environmental and economic impacts of such a monster of a project are of long-term significance, therefore openness and accountability by all players, at all levels must be ensured.

“Meridian Energy must not be allowed to hide behind claims of commercial sensitivity. The potential impact of the Bechtel Group as a project partner must be assessed and considered as part of the overall consultation process” she said.

“This is not Bolivia, Iraq or Bougainville: the Waitaki River must not become another notch in the Bechtel Group belt.”

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