Protest at Ruataniwha meeting
About 40 opponents of the planned Ruataniwha dam staged a protest outside Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Napier headquarters yesterday.
The peaceful protest was held ahead of a meeting inside the building where councillors received updates on the proposed Central Hawke’s Bay water storage scheme from their legal advisers and investment company.
The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is planning to invest $80 million of ratepayers’ money into the scheme, which would irrigate about 25,000 hectares of farmland on the drought-prone Ruataniwha Plains.
Councillors are expected to vote next month on whether the project should go ahead.
The council’s investment arm, Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company, is awaiting the outcome of a Court of Appeal challenge to a decision by the Department of Conservation to grant a land-swap in the area that would be flooded by the dam.
An ‘‘institutional investor’’ – rumoured to be ACC – is in the final stages of completing negotiations to part-fund the $330m scheme.
Greenpeace said yesterday that ACC should not be investing in the project ‘‘when private investors won’t’’.
Protesters opposed to the planned Ruataniwha dam gather outside Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s offices in Napier ahead of a council meeting.