The Green Party is calling on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and its investment arm HBRIC to stop pumping public money into the Ruataniwha Dam, and call the project off.
The call comes on the back of news that it will cost nearly $1 billion to build the dam.
“The Ruataniwha Dam would be an economic and environmental disaster,” said Green Party water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
“Farmers are reluctant to invest in the dam, so why should local ratepayers and taxpayers? At present, all funding to build the dam is coming from the public purse, while the benefits of it will go to private users.
“Hawkes Bay Regional Council should call the project off, or risk ending up with a white elephant water scheme that the public foots the bill for.
“This irrigation scheme will only make the water more polluted; most of the rivers in the Ruataniwha catchment are already polluted and exceed acceptable nitrate levels.
“Destroying precious rivers to fit more cows and other irrigation-dependent land uses on the land is exactly the wrong way to spend public money at the moment,” said Ms Delahunty.