Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Ruataniwha decision puts water demands before nature

Tuesday 15 April 2014 - Wellington

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Ruataniwha decision puts water demands before nature

Independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird says the Board of Inquiry that today granted consent for the Ruataniwha irrigation dam has failed to account for the overall environmental damage the project would cause, if it is built.

The Board’s draft report covers RMA consents for the dam, and “Plan Change 6”, which would modify the Hawke’s Bay Regional Plan.

Forest & Bird has welcomed in principle the board’s decision on the Plan Change. In it, the board rejected the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s assertions that water quality can be protected by only controlling phosphorus run-off, while allowing nitrogen to reach toxic levels. The Council’s investment arm is backing the dam.

The Board was emphatic that both nitrogen and phosphorus must be controlled to avoid algal build-up. Excessive amounts of algae destroy ecosystems, and make rivers dangerous for swimming.

“However, the Board gave only scant consideration to whether those limits would be achievable, once an additional 25,000-30,000 hectares is irrigated using water from the dam,” says Forest & Bird’s Advocacy Manager, Kevin Hackwell.

“If it’s built, the Ruataniwha dam will see an explosion of intensive agriculture in inland Hawke’s Bay. While the board’s decision imposes limits on both nitrogen and phosphorus, the board has not adequately explained how the intensive agriculture associated with the dam will meet the new limits.

“Farmers can tweak phosphorous levels to some extent, by planting stream banks and the like. But unless you do things like put all cows in sheds, and collect all their waste, you can’t stop nitrogen getting into the water.”

Kevin Hackwell says the impacts at the dam site should not be forgotten either.

“Forest & Bird submitted evidence to the Board of Inquiry on the dam’s effects on various native species, whose habitat would be flooded, and on the internationally important wader bird habitat downstream.

“Flooding the dam will destroy nearly 200 hectares of native vegetation, home to native long-tailed bats, amongst other animals. The reservoir footprint includes part of the Ruataniwha Forest Park, which is public conservation land. The dam’s backers still need the Department of Conservation’s agreement to flood that area. In theory, that should mean the end of the project.

“The quality of this decision reflects the way in which the government has set up the Board of Inquiry process. The government created this compressed, fast-track structure to smooth the way for large, highly-damaging projects like this, and the Minister hand-picked the decision-makers.

“Projects like this don’t deserve public money. Not only are they hugely damaging, they are high-risk. The banks won’t have a bar of them for that reason.

“The government’s $400 million irrigation fund represents a huge subsidy to the dairy sector, at the cost to our environment,” Kevin Hackwell says.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Labour/Greens Deal (And The NZDF)

If Labour and the Greens were hoping their Budget Responsibility Rules (BRR) agreement would foster an unlikely alliance then hey… mission accomplished! Because it isn’t every day that Sue Bradford, the CTU and Matthew Hooton speak with one voice, as happened yesterday.

Unfortunately though, it’s hard to see how the BRR agreement will work to the advantage of Labour and the Greens in the context of the 2017 election campaign. More>>

 

Until After The Election: Extension Of Report-Back Date For Havelock North Inquiry

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today that the report-back date for the independent Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking-Water has been extended at the request of the Inquiry’s Panel. More>>

ALSO:

Little Heading For Court: Apology Over Donation/Hotel Contract Claims Not Accepted

Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements. I have offered that apology to the Hagamans. More>>

ALSO:

Biscuit Tin Of Democracy: World Heritage Site Protection, Ombudsman and Equal Pay Bills Drawn

On Thursday, 23 March 2017 three places are available on the Order Paper for the first reading of a Member’s bill. The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn... More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Plan: NZ Needs More Science, More Trees, Fewer Beasts

A combination of technology breakthroughs, much more plantation forestry, and a big switch away from pastoral, particularly dairy farming, are identified as the key elements of any approach New Zealand takes to reducing its carbon emissions to a net zero level, according to a new report sponsored by the New Zealand chapter of GLOBE, a multi-party, global parliamentary grouping. More>>

ALSO:

"Backed To Win Seats": Labour Māori Seat MPs Won't Stand On List

The Labour Party is backing a request from its Māori seat MPs to stand as electorate MPs only, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

OutsKey: John Key's Valedictory Speech

I rise to address this House for the very last time. It has been a huge privilege to have served the people of Helensville as their member of Parliament, and, of course, the people of New Zealand as their Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Productivity Commission: New Models Of Tertiary Education Are Coming

The report is a broad-ranging inquiry into how well New Zealand’s tertiary education system is set up to respond to emerging trends in technology and the internationalisation of education, and changes in the structure of the population, and the skills needed in the economy and society... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news