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

Agreements Signed:
PM Meets With Chinese President

Prime Minister John Key held successful talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wellington...

“Today we have agreed to characterise the relationship between our nations as a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, recognising the significance of the bilateral relationship to both countries.”

Ten new agreements and arrangements between New Zealand and China have been signed, including an amendment to the Free Trade Agreement that will enable a television co-production arrangement. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Auckland Unification: 'No IT Cost Blowout' (Just More Expensive)

Following discussion of an update on Auckland Council’s Information Services Transformational Programme at today’s Finance and Performance Committee, council has released the report publicly. More>>

ALSO:

Other Expensive Things:

Gordon Campbell: On The SAS Role Against Islamic State, And Podemos

Only 25% of the US bombing runs are even managing to locate IS targets worth bombing. As the NYT explains at length, this underlines the need for better on-the-ground intelligence to direct the air campaign to where the bad guys have holed up... More>>

ALSO:

Public Service: Commission Calls For Answers On Handling Of CERA Harassment

EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Andrew Little’s Victory

So Andrew Little has won the leadership – by the narrowest possible margin – from Grant Robertson, and has already been depicted by commentators as being simultaneously (a) the creature of the trade unions and (b) the most centrist of the four candidates, which would be an interesting trick to see someone try in a game of Twister. More>>

ALSO:

China President Wishlists: Greens Welcome Xi, But Human Rights Need To Be On Agenda

“President Xi has made some progress on climate change, but he must also lift the Chinese government’s game on human rights issues,” Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said... It is important that our Government continues to urge the Chinese government to show restraint and respect human rights in both Tibet and the Xinjiang province.” More>>

ALSO:

Airport Security Breach: CAA Fines Minister

Minister Brownlee has been issued an infringement notice and is required to pay a $2000 infringement fine for breaching Civil Aviation Rule 19.357(b), which states no person may be in an airport security area without an appropriate identity card or document. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news