The Green Party applauds Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s decision today to finally end the Ruataniwha Dam fiasco, which has seen $14 million of local ratepayers' money wasted on a potential white elephant.
“The proposed Ruataniwha dam was a bad idea from start to finish,” said Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“The Green Party has been calling for this dam to be shelved for years. It’s about time the environment and our rivers were put ahead of the interests of a few people who thought they could make money out of a disastrous dam.
“Not only would the dam have required flooding 22ha of conservation land for a water storage reservoir, it would have also encouraged further intensification of farming – the very thing we’re trying to move away from to protect our climate and our waterways.
“Large scale irrigation dams and schemes like Ruataniwha don’t encourage sustainable land or water use. They drastically change the natural flow of rivers, and promote more high-input agricultural intensification, a leading cause of declining water quality.
“The public subsidies large-scale irrigation requires mean that the public foots the bill but the profits go to individuals.
“Regional councils like Hawke’s Bay Regional Council should not be involved in irrigation schemes such as Ruataniwha. Promoting irrigation undermines their role as independent regulators of land and water use and creates a conflict of interest,” said Ms Sage.