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Dodgy Ruataniwha dam court drama enters next stage

The legal battle over whether part of a protected forest park can be used in a land swap deal that would allow Hawke’s Bay’s controversial Ruataniwha irrigation scheme to go ahead is set for another hearing.

The Department of Conservation and the company behind the $275 million project are seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court a decision last month which ordered the land exchange deal to be reconsidered.

The Court of Appeal ordered the Director-General of Conservation Lou Sanson to revisit the deal which would have swapped 22 hectares of the Ruahine Forest Park for 1270ha area of farming land known as Smedley Block.

The conservation land was to be flooded as part of the proposed dam project across the Makaroro River that would capture and store about 900 million cubic metres of water, allowing up to 30,000ha of land to be irrigated.

Forest & Bird had appealed against a High Court ruling which upheld the decision to revoke the land from the 94,000ha forest park.

It said if the appeal to the Supreme Court was successful it could open the way for the loss of other protected land. Read more »

UK Labour unity? Not so much


On Monday Seumas Milne, Jeremy Corbyn’s spin doctor, enraged a shadow minister by deliberately deleting part of his speech.

He must be wishing he’d deleted the whole of Tom Watson’s.

This afternoon, Labour members in Liverpool watched their deputy leader expertly undermine their leader – and then gave him a standing ovation. It was remarkable. And because Mr Corbyn was sitting at a platform on stage, mere feet from Mr Watson, you could watch his reaction. It wasn’t hard to guess what he thought.

The speech started harmlessly enough. Jokes about David Cameron, digs at Theresa May. But then Mr Watson praised Sadiq Khan. Earlier in the day, the Mayor of London had given a speech implying that, unlike him, Mr Corbyn was a vote-loser…

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Auckland Mayoral Debate at Auckland University

If you thought Hillary and Donald wasn’t much chop…

…this is not a joke.  This is not a panto… this is what really happened.