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Council Report Shows Risk Of Ruataniwha Dam For Ratepayers

Council Report Highlights Risk Of Ruataniwha Dam For Ratepayers

A Council report shows Hawke’s Bay ratepayers will be left carrying the can if anything goes wrong with the proposed Ruataniwha dam, the Green Party said today.

A new report, the business case for the proposed dam, is being considered at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council meeting tomorrow. The report shows Hawke’s Bay ratepayers will face the risk of fewer investors subscribe and or if anything goes wrong with the scheme’s financing.

“The report identifies that Hawke’s Bay Regional Council ratepayers carry the most risk if the scheme fails to sign up enough users,” said Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“It’s also clear that the ultimate backstop will be the regional council. The council will have to recapitalise the dam company if there are massive overruns in construction costs (currently estimated at $270 million) or if the scheme doesn’t meet Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company’s targets for farmer uptake and investment. Private investors won’t want a bar of further spending.

“While the report summary claims the construction will be fixed-time, fixed-cost and low risk, the report later identifies that variations above total cost would be met by the Council and investors.

“Regional councils should not be subsidising big irrigation projects. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has clearly identified the impacts on water quality of increased intensive dairy farming. Regional councils are supposed to be looking after the environment and our waterways, not subsidising pollution,” said Ms Sage.

ENDS

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