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Out of town and out of touch

Out of town and out of touch

Hawke’s Bay farmer Hugh Ritchie said today if Greenpeace acutally understood the big environmental issues facing New Zealand, such as climate change, it wouldn’t need to interfere in a local water storage project like Ruataniwha.

“Hawke’s Bay people can decide what’s best for their community without the influence of this misguided and uninformed green lobby. These out-of-town protesters need to realize robust public process has been followed and the scheme has been intensely scrutinized.

“Ruataniwha has been through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) process. Individuals and groups have had ample opportunity to voice concerns and these have been accessed for merit. This same EPA process saw an end to Wellington Basin Reserve’s proposed flyover. The EPA delivers robust, objective decisions on environmental matters, and ensures compliance with rules. Its decision must be respected.

“There are strict conditions and limits under consents for irrigators. Farm plans must be developed by all consent-holders and nutrients managed to pre determined levels. Any water-user will know limits before they start irrigating and conditions mean there will be much more control going forward than what is currently in place.

“Landowners in the region are already addressing identified areas of concern with community projects. The Papanui Catchment Management Programme (http://www.hbrc.govt.nz/hawkes-bay/projects/tukituki/papanui-catchment/) is a great example of the effort happening to manage these areas. This is not just a farming issue, urban run off and discharges have been identified as contributing to catchment nutrient loads.

"The scheme will help underpin these types of structures and act as a change agent for even better management practice. There will also be other environmental benefits that come with the dam such as enabling minimum flows and the ability to provide flushing flows for the river system.

“In regards to public money it is an investment that has a return, not a handout. Whilst there is always risk, it is extremely minimal. Every New Zealand irrigation scheme is successful and of great benefit to local communities – just look at Ashburton and Oamaru.

“Not only will this project be a game changer for Central Hawke's Bay especially Waipukurau and Waipawa it will greatly benefit the whole region overtime.

“Farmers in Hawke's Bay need reliability of water supply so they can farm into the future. Hawke's Bay needs water storage. Hawke's Bay needs Ruataniwha to go ahead,” Mr Ritchie concluded.

ENDS

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