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 Pakistan Schoolchildren Killings

The slaughter of the children in Pakistan is incomprehensibly awful. On the side, it has thrown a spotlight onto something that’s become a pop cultural meme. Fans of the Homeland TV series will be well aware of the collusion between sections of the Pakistan military/security establishment on one hand and sections of the Taliban of the other…

Reportedly, it was the breakdown of the relationship between the Pakistan Taliban and the Pakistan military – which for the first time, began bombing Taliban enclaves in the Tribal Federated Areas earlier this year – that led to this revenge attack on the school, which is attended by the children of the military. More>>

 

Parliament Adjourns:

Police: Phillip Smith Investigation Passport Charge

A 25 year-old man will appear in the Whanganui District Court today charged with the Passports Act offence of False Representations. The charges were laid on December 9 by the Auckland-based Phillip Smith investigation... More>>

Intelligence: Inspector-General Accepts Apology For Leak Of Report

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August 2011 to media prior to its publication. The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further. More>>

ALSO:

Drink: Alcohol Advertising Report Released

The report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship has been released today, with Ministers noting that further work will be required on the feasibility and impact of the proposals. More>>

ALSO:

Other Report:

Leaked Cabinet Papers: Treasury Calls For Health Cuts

Leaked Cabinet papers that show that Government has been advised to cut the health budget by around $200 million is ringing alarm bells throughout the nursing and midwifery community. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Party: Tribunal Report Confirms Iwi Ownership Of Lake Waikaremoana

“We are pleased for the claimants that eight years after the hearing began on Lake Waikaremoana they have some closure,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell. “Most importantly, the report confirms freshwater is a taonga and identifies the ownership rights of Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Ngāi Tamaterangi to the lake bed.” More>>

ALSO:

Climate Performance Report - Not Achieved: NZ Government Part Of Global Climate Problem

The New Zealand Government’s position on climate change is part of the global problem that we need to overcome if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, the Green Party said. More>>

ALSO:

NSW Police Statement: Three Dead Following Martin Place Siege

About 2.10am (Tuesday 16 December), a confrontation occurred between police and a man who had taken a number of people hostage inside a café on Martin Place. Shots were fired during the confrontation. As a result, the 50-year-old man was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. Another man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38, were pronounced dead after being taken to hospital. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sydney Siege (And DHB Budget Cuts)
Whenever the authorities bring a siege situation to an end, there will be criticism if – as has happened in Sydney – any hostages are seriously hurt, or killed... In the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, columnist Peter Hartcher raises a different point – that the initial public response had been noticeably different to the agitated reactions of politicians and the media. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Income Inequality, And Yo Ho Ho Christmas Songs

As 2014 grinds to a close, we probably didn’t need one more reminder of this government’s ability to stare reality in the face and declare black to be a very fine shade of white... Yet on Wednesday, there was Finance Minister Bill English trying to tell RNZ that the OECD was (a) wrong (b) using old data and (c) somehow anti-growth and in any case (d) New Zealand allegedly already had a strongly re-distributive tax system... More>>

Werewolf: Public Health - The Silent Crisis

Gordon Campbell: New Zealand’s public health system has been in crisis for so long that its failings – and deteriorating performance vis a vis other developed countries – now tend to be treated as its normal mode of being. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: House Adjourns For Summer

Parliament has risen for the summer break with the Adjournment Motion agreed just after 5pm on Wednesday. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news