Who are the Dodgy Socialist Dam supporters this election?

As regular readers know this blog loathes socialism and loathes those who make us pay for their dodgy socialist projects.

So, we have been right at the front of the campaign against the extremely dodgy Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, promoted by Fenton “Jong-Un” Wilson, the chair of the extremely dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council.

In recent comments, we were asked which candidates support and which candidates oppose the dodgy socialist dam. This is the list (incumbents are underlined):

Dean Whaanga Opposes
Fenton “Jong-Un” Wilson Supports
Paul Bailey  Opposes
Alan Dick Supports
Moria Irving Supports
Neil Kirton Supports with a weasel clause, and will stop supporting it the moment it is in his own interest not to support it.
Martin Williams   Supports

 Rick Barker   Opposes
 Tom Belford  Opposes
Cynthia Bowers  Supports
 Tim Gilbertson  Supports
 Rex Graham   Opposes
 Peter Beavan  Opposes
 Dan Ross   No obvious position but Peter Beavan is a good mate of Mike “Fat Tony” Williams, this blogs favourite left wing backroom operator, so expect Peter to win.
Central Hawkes Bay  Opposes
Dan Elderkamp  Opposes
Debbie Hewitt  Supports

If just one of the current supporters loses and an opponent of the dam joins the current 4 who are opposed then the dam is dead.

With the current water issues in the area, it would be wise for voters to protect the water quality they have right now rather than elect a council who is proposing to build a dam that would make it worse. They are the poacher and the gamekeeper. They refuse to uphold their own water standards despite the Tukituki River already being at the maximum headroom for nutrients. If they stay in control of the council then they will simply change the rules and allow increased nutrients despite losing in this regard in every aspect before the Board of Inquiry.

Water quality is already compromised. The region can’t afford anymore degradation of river water quality. Vote for the rivers, Make sure you vote against those who support the dodgy socialist dam, and turning the Tukituki Rover toxic.





  • Peter

    Without this project Hawkes Bay will remain an economic backwater.
    The Ruataniwha project will only improve water quality in the Tukituki river.
    The current arrangement has water users taking water at the worst time possible for the river. This taking of water during high summer makes the water quality problem worse.
    The Ruataniwha project will use water taken during the winter. It will supply this water to users in an even handed and fairer way than the current method. It will allow water minimum flows in the Tukituki river to be maintained or improved, The guarantee of water will enable better investment decisions to be made to the land and vastly improve the local economy..
    I met with some HB farmers last week to discuss using their own retention dams for irrigation (they sit outside the project area). They can use the runoff/springs on their land to retain water during winter and irrigate small areas of land for finishing their stock. Currently they are losing significant money because they are unable to finish stock during Jan/Feb without importing feed or sending their stock off the land.
    The win by F&B is a temporary one. We can only hope that the project goes ahead in spite of the lobbying by special interest and minority groups.

    • Dumrse

      “The Ruataniwha project will only improve water quality in the Tukituki river.” Telling us how this will happen (improve water quality) would be better than regurgitated generic comments.

      • He can’t because the HBRC own reports say that it is impossible, in fact it will get worse with the dam. But when the Council is the promoter and the enforcer of regulations you can see how that will turn out. The council will back 200 farmers and increase the pollution levels in the Tukituki.

    • You should read the reports, clearly as a vested interest in the irrigation industry and been called for it time and again here you would do better to learn not to spin when the facts don’t actually support you.

      The Tukituki is already at the maximum limits for nutrient load and frequently goes over it. The reports all show that the proposed dam will not lower that load, instead they it will increase it. Worse still the HBRC tried to cook the reports and ignore Nitrogen, but a court case soon put paid to that…they must now include nitrogen in their calculations and guess what…dairy intensification will see that increase massively.

      The flushing flows myth is perpetuated by you yet again. I don’t think you have any idea how much water will have to be spilled in summer to achieve what you are saying it will.

      As for your claim that the F&B win is temporary…think again…the law is the law and wishful thinking cannot undo that. It is now impossible to build the dam according tot he plans. It is now recklessly and fiscally irresponsible not to mention impossible to build the dam without taking DoC land, which they can’t do.

      There are other cases to come as well.

      Why on earth couldn’t they prepare a solution that was fiscally feasible, didn’t rely on heroic assumptions, would actually improve the river and deliver it all at no cost tot he ratepayers…ie a sound business plan can always stand on its own feet without socialist subsidies.

    • Peter

      Yes read the reports, seen the movie, and got the tee shirt.

      All rivers have nitrogen in them. Nitrogen is used as a marker for toxicity. There are other measures of river toxicity, which care arguably better than simplistic Nitrogen monitoring. My preference is towards measuring the health of the river using a range of markers, with an emphasis on river biology. Nitrogen is simple and quick though..
      Nitrogen levels vary over the river and are affected by the river level, flow rate, ambient temperature, surrounding country etc. They also vary over time.
      The Tukituki has always had issues with Nitrogen levels. The problem is highest when the river is at low flows during high summer. This is a natural problem. The river runs low during summer as the systems delivering water to the river dry up. Some years are good some years are bad.
      The current practice of taking water from the connected aquifers and the river itself during summer has made the low flow events in the river happen earlier and to a much greater degree. It is made worse becuase the water users increase their takes closer to river shutdown in an effort to store water in the soils. This again makes the river low flow event worse and last longer..
      The existing issues with this river have been magnified by current water use practices and need to change. This project provides this mechanism. by retaining a very small part of the river winter flows which otherwise travel out of the catchment and out to sea and using them both for managed water use and to improve water quality. .
      The reports show that the scheme will not eliminate Nitrogen levels but will improve them. The big question has been by how much.
      The polarized opposition to this scheme have twisted reasoned arguments from both sides over the veracity of Nitrogen as the sole marker, and the degree of improvement expected from the scheme to suit their own ends. This largely emotional and unbalanced views by these people are presented as facts and all opposition shouted down. T

      The planned scheme does a number of things:
      1. It captures a very small portion of those winter flows and retains them. This retained water is used in summer, removing the need to take water from the summer flows.
      2. It stops the taking of summer flows from the river/catchment by current water users and provides a mechanism for water use management which is absent in the current system
      3. It also releases water back into the river in a controlled way so as to maintain river minimum flow levels. This will have a significant impact on reducing toxicity which occurs during low flow events.
      4. The use of irrigation to maintain soil and crop health for maximum nutrient uptake in turn reduces nutrient loss to ground and surface water.

      I know this system works because I have been involved in land treatment projects for wastewater disposal elsewhere in the country and measured and seen for myself the improvements in water quality that these schemes have provided. These are real projects with real measurements.

      I have also installed irrigation systems which have shown better than calculated return on investments for the irrigator. These are real investments with real returns for the investors.

      The project is fiscally feasible – both on farm and as a PPPE. I have presented the evidence in previous discussions and have had no responses to convince me otherwise. It yields a return similar to that of similar projects already completed or underway elsewhere in the country. The only problem is that the continued delays and court actions are ramping the costs up. They really just need to get on with it.

      Although I have a very small interest and some confidence in the project proceeding I am not holding my breath. If it doesn’t proceed alternative irrigation schemes will proceed – probably in the form of privately owned and operated retention dams and water management systems. While these will yield good returns for the individual investors I do not think they are the best solution for the region. If the Ruataniwha project proceeds the larger irrigation providers will get the work. Whereas I will get more work with the smaller schemes….

  • WaterGirl

    If the Ruataniwha dam goes ahead the intensive shingle feedlots, that are by the way not subject to consents, will increase and pollute even more. Interesting that some of the worst offenders are in the recently added Zone M which includes the Papanui catchment – that feeds into the Tuki Tuki river along with Otane Waipawa & Waipukurau wastewater & sewage treatment plant discharges.

    • The feedlot issue is a disgrace. There will be more on that this week. The advent of drones and cheaper surveillance apparatus has meant things can no longer be hidden. With the recent outbreak in Havelock North and Hasting people are no longer willing to take the risk that the councils will look after their interests and provide clean water int eh rivers and the aquifers.

      • WaterGirl

        The locals have complained for the last few years about the feedlots on Pourerere Road next to the Papanui Stream just before the Tamumu Bride Waipawa, and Hawkes Bay Regional council advised the owner to ‘plant some trees’ so the public couldn’t see. Will let you know the names of all the offenders shortly

    • Peter

      Sorry but why would you have shingle feedlots.
      Under the council requirements is that any feedlot should be sealed against effluent loss and all effluent collected from them must be sent to storage for effluent. ‘shingle feedlots’ are not permitted.
      The use of properly constructed feedlots is actually a good idea on a number of levels:
      1. the holds the cows off the land when the grass is not growing and the ground is prone to dam,age. This does two things: it stops being laid down when the nutrients are not able to be taken up by the dormant grass, and it reduces damage to pasture.
      2. It provides better management against nutrient loss than standing stock on pasture.
      3. Its better for the animals.
      One of the issues is that past bad practices have to change. This change has to be made in a reasoned and managed way. Enforcement is often qualified as a result.
      Education is important. Getting farmers to understand the implications of what they are doing needs to be done in a way that brings them on board rather than alienating them.,

      • WaterGirl

        I agree with what you say especially education. These are bull beef feedlots and the shingle paddocks are an old river bed and have historically always been used to winter cattle in this area on pasture and hay. In recent times some of these farms have intensified these areas into feedlots. No pasture here now.1000-1500 sometimes more head of cattle on each feedlot at any one time.They are not sealed and they are fed a monoculture diet is mostly palm kernel which is why many of them show symptoms of acidodis. Then its off to the works with them. HBRC regulations allow these feedlots to operate without consents. Check out HBRC Plan Change 6.

        • Peter

          Good stuff I can see that you get this. I also agre that palm kernel is not a good idea. However perhaps where we differ is that to maintain animal health you either have to bring in another type of feed or maintain grass growth. Other feed types are expensive at more than $0.5/kg. Whereas grass grown uner irrigation is <$0.25/kg. Hence the argument for irrigation…

          • WaterGirl

            We are not so far apart. Most Ruataniwha dam opponents here are not what you would call ‘greenies’ and are all for water storage. The Ruataniwha dam is simply the wrong economic model and in totally the wrong place. Plan Change 6 which supports the dam specifically encourages degradation of the Tuku Tuki through the misuse and abuse of the Papanui catchment. There are more suitable locations for a dam or dams that would serve existing Heretaunga Plains and Central Hawkes Bay growers and farmers and will encourage and enable others to be more efficient and grow crops and livestock with water security. HBRC well know what some of the other suitable sites are, and should make sure that the modelling for these sites is better than what they they have produced to date with the Ruataniwha. The environment does not need to be degraded and there is no need for ratepayers to put a penny in. Sounds good to me.

          • Andrewj

            But you are still concentrating animal waste. It doesn’t matter if you grow the maize under irrigation or not, it still gets shipped to a feed pad and fed out in a concentrated area. I am surprised they are feeding Palm kernel ,would of thought that would lead to complications, especially as quality varies so much.
            The reality is that growing anything today is much riskier than in the past, a lot of processed crops are easily oversupplied, read my link below about beetroot. There are no processed crops you can grow in CHB I know of, that you couldn’t do cheaper and better elsewhere.
            Russia is becoming a agriculture production monster, watch out for markets to begin to shake as it stops importing and starts to export.


            The globalised world is not what it used to be.


            The Black Earth, or chernozem (чернозём from the Russian words for “black soil,” chernaia zemlia), region is a belt of extremely rich and fertile soil stretching from the Moldova and the Western Ukraine eastward, narrowing as it goes further east into Siberia, before coming to an end near Irkutsk. This is some of the richest soil in the world.

          • Peter

            The great thing about properly build feed pads is that you can collect all of the dung and urine and feed waste and hold it until the pasture is ready to receive it. You can then spread it to land over an area suitable to the nutrient load. Some of the farmers I deal with will spread this nutrient over more than 100ha every year. It offsets their fertiliser budgets to the tune of $10k to $20k per annum, so why not.

            Our niche is to grow quality produce and process it.into a quality product.

    • Peter

      One thing I agree with. The towns should not be discharging their effluent treated or otherwise into any waterway.
      It should be being irrigated to land, as originally planned. The COuncils were virtually gifted the land for land treatment of their wastewater and instead went for the cheaper option. Cheap is not always best.
      Taupo City irrigates their effluent to land – over 300ha. It has cleaned up a lot of the Waikato River water quality issues. I was involved in this scheme.
      We loaded the land with over 450kg/ha/year of Nitrogen with no significant loss to groundwater…that is a lot of Nitrogen when you consider farm limits are 150kgN/ha/year.. The scheme grows well over $1.2m of halage per annum all of which is pre-sold. Proper land treatment of effluent is not only viable, it can yield a real return for the councils.

  • Peter

    In the meantime thousands of Hectares of land are going into Avocados up North. Its a gold rush! All of this will be under irrigation. They are drilling 12″ bores that are each capable of taking 300m3/hr from aquifers….we are talking a lot of water here.
    And down south we are talking huge irrigation schemes – all going ahead with little or no opposition.
    And back in Hawkes Bay the minority and special interest groups will ensure that Hawkes Bay continues its slow slide into economic oblivion. Good distraction from what is going on elsewhere in the country I guess……(there is some emotive stuff for you!!)

  • F T Bear

    I support the dam , the sooner they start the better I believe it will be for HB generally.
    I also accept the rivers and water reticulation are issues that need to sorted out.

    I believe the thing has to the most part been hijacked by the vocal minority, I live and work among a pretty wide range of people here and for the most part people couldn’t care less or don’t have a opinion.
    I don’t see why flushing flows won’t help, I don’t see how 150 hectares more of conservation estate isn’t a good thing, I don’t see how more employment in a struggling rural area is a bad thing, I haven’t seen any reports of farmers signing up for more intensive dairying, my information tells me it will be more horticulture, and viticulture, The big processing companies have spent millions of dollars in the last few years in preparation.The country is calling for more water storage, apparently we capture about 2% of the rain fall annually, the rest all goes out to sea eventually.

    In some cases it seems if you say the same thing over and over then it becomes true, On this blog we all know how public opinions are manipulated by speculation, misinformation, and selective use of the facts. The other commentators may be far more informed than me but I don’t know, but the issues of feed lots might be as simple as strip feeding feed crops and not feedlots at all.

    You are right about voting for Councillors that support your view, and we will all have to accept the outcome, I also believe it might not be as clear cut as some might hope, Tom Belford might have done his dash, Cynthia Bowers has a whole lot more support than you might believe , she hasn’t been on the HDC for 21 years for nothing.

    As I said before I will vote for anyone who is for the dam

    • Peter

      I agree with you on all of your points. well said.