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The Ruataniwha Scheme: a Penny for the Guy?

The Ruataniwha Scheme: a Penny for the Guy?

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Peter Fraser, Principal, Rōpere Consulting, attended the ‘It’s Now or Never’ presentation held in Waipawa last night. The presentation was organised by Federated Farmers and Irrigation New Zealand and sought to provide farmers with information on the benefits of irrigation from a farmers’ perspective.

“It was great to see farmers coming out in force to attend this event” Mr Fraser said “though I was surprised by the small number of questions asked on the benefits of irrigation. Like a certain ‘Moment of Truth’, it seems that the event created much heat but seemingly little light.”

Mr Fraser, who has questioned the economic viability of the entire scheme, remained unconvinced that the scheme represents a viable economic development option for the Central and Southern Hawkes Bay.

“In terms of last night’s presentation, it is important to distinguish between the general benefits of irrigation and the merits of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (RWSS) scheme in particular. The simple point is this is a $600 million scheme that over the course of one resource consenting period produces net benefits of negative $27 million. This is a truly jaw-dropping result, and on that basis, the promoters would be better off putting $600 million on a bonfire later this evening and simply incinerating it – because at least the result would only be nothing”.

“While I accept that these are theoretical numbers derived from an economic model, what the ratepayers of Hawkes’ Bay need to realise is that these figures are the Council’s own theoretic numbers and compiled by the Council’s own economic advisors” Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser also noted that based on the information provided last night, there appears to be significant differences between the two South Island schemes outlined and RWSS proposal.

“If I picked up on this– and I’m not a farmer – then I suspect that the members of the audience who are farmers probably did too – and perhaps that explains the lack of questions posed’ Mr Fraser said.

“Indeed, rather than channelling the spirit Elvis Presley in declaring it’s ‘Now or Never’, maybe the promoters should consider substituting the Dusty Springfield classic of ‘Wishing and Hoping’ – because Wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin', Plannin' and dreamin' each night of his charms, won't get you into his arms...”


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