Public should hold Ministers to account for dam decisions

September 30 2016     MEDIA STATEMENT

Kiwis should be concerned at the use of public money and resources going to support Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) plans to acquire land needed for the Ruataniwha Dam and must hold the Ministers responsible to account, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.

HBRIC and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have jointly sought leave to appeal a Court of Appeal decision with the Supreme Court, and HBRIC will also seek to acquire land for the Dam under the Public Works Act.

“The two-pronged approach taken by HBRIC to acquire this land shows they will stop at nothing to push ahead with the Ruataniwha Dam.

“It’s alarming that the Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry, has decided to use the public purse to help HBRIC challenge a major Court of Appeal decision in support of a large scale private irrigation scheme. Is this kind of action what we expect of our Conservation Minister?

“Kiwis will also be watching closely to see whether Environment Minister Nick Smith signs off HBRIC’s application to become a ‘requiring authority’, paving the way for the land to be acquired under the Public Works Act.

“Concerned New Zealanders should make their views known and write to Maggie Barry for challenging the Court of Appeal decision, and to Nick Smith to ensure he opposes HBRIC’s application to become a requiring authority.

“With HBRIC determined to go against decisions in both the Court of Appeal and court of public opinion, political pressure on government ministers may be the public’s best response,” says Meka Whaitiri.

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