Parting swipe at dam


CHB farmer Will Fo­ley took a parting swipe at op­po­nents of the Ru­atani­wha Dam, say­ing he hoped the con­tro­ver­sial canned project would soon be picked up by new in­ter­ests, as he bowed out as Hawke’s Bay pres­i­dent of Fed­er­ated Farm­ers this month.

In his last an­nual re­port be­fore hand­ing over to new pres­i­dent Jim Gal­loway, Mr Fo­ley told the Hawke’s Bay Fed­er­ated Farm­ers an­nual meet­ing in Hast­ings that “with­out doubt” the Ru­atani­wha Wa­ter Stor­age Scheme (RWSS) put on the back­burner by the Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil had been the defin­ing is­sue of his five years in the chair.

“It has been dis­ap­point­ing and frus­trat­ing to see the way it has come to a halt dur­ing this last year. The cur­rent re­gional coun­cil ob­vi­ously has no ap­petite for the scheme and the sooner the cur­rent as­sets and IP [in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty] around the project can be sold off the bet­ter so as to al­low a far bet­ter pro­moter to see what can be sal­vaged.”

From Taka­pau, Fo­ley said he had en­joyed the chal­lenge of the scale of the project from a Feds’ point of view.

“I got to know and deal with highly mo­ti­vated, en­thu­si­as­tic and pas­sion­ate peo­ple who truly be­lieve in a bet­ter and more pros­per­ous Hawke’s Bay.”

Some who spoke out against Ru­atani­wha gained his re­spect and were wor­thy of a de­bate, Mr Fo­ley said.

“There are oth­ers who just dis­re­gard facts and rea­son sim­ply to stop change. The hypocrisy is one thing I won’t miss.”

He was crit­i­cal of the new Labour-led Govern­ment for what he called a neg­a­tive tone around ir­ri­ga­tion.

“It will take a lot of ad­vo­cacy from Feds to con­tinue to push the mer­its of ir­ri­ga­tion and al­low our mem­bers ac­cess to a po­ten­tially crit­i­cal tool go­ing for­ward with cli­mate change and our ex­port-led econ­omy,” he said.

The new pres­i­dent is steel­ing him­self for the chal­lenges, hav­ing been a mem­ber of Fed­er­ated Farm­ers for about 18 years be­fore step­ping up about seven years ago out of con­cern about the im­pacts of Manawatu¯ -Wan­ganui’s Hori­zons Re­gional Coun­cil’s One Plan re­source man­age­ment doc­u­ment. He has served as the Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Tararua dairy chair­man.

He said he will be try­ing to head off is­sues be­fore they blow up into a ma­jor, keep­ing an eye on who could po­ten­tially buy the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty of the RWSS the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of the Tuk­i­tuki River catch­ment’s Plan Change 6 and the nu­tri­ent limit and wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion strands of the TANK process.

The prov­ince’s new pres­i­dent was born in Hast­ings, grew up on a farm in south­ern Hawke’s Bay, com­pleted an agri­cul­tural sci­ence de­gree at Massey and worked as a fer­tiliser con­sul­tant for nine years be­fore start­ing to work the land him­self, near Eketa¯ huna.

With wife Lynette he now runs a 54ha sheep and beef farm off Raukawa Rd near Hast­ings, and also works on other farms in the area.

While sup­port­ing Mr Gal­loway in set­tling into the top role, Mr Fo­ley said he planned to look af­ter CHB’s in­ter­ests.


New Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Hawke’s Bay pres­i­dent Jim Gal­loway (left) and Taka­pau’s Will Fo­ley, who stood down af­ter five years in the role.

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