Conflicts of Interest bringing down the Ruataniwha Dam

As I have been pointing out for weeks the dodgy ratbags in the Hawkes Bay Regional Council are watching all their corrupt chickens come home to roost.

Gordon Campbell summarises the real issue with this project pretty well.

The Ruataniwha project stinks to high heavens.

Given that this large scale project – it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer and ratepayer funds – has been declared to of national significance and will serve as a model for others, the project needs to be halted NOW. The current hopelessly tainted process of evaluation has to begun afresh. Unfortunately, as became clear in a further RNZ report this morning, the patent conflicts of interest involved here make it unlikely that this sensible option will be taken. 

Both central government and local government in the Hawkes Bay are working in unison to get this dam built, whatever – and as Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule conceded, local government in the Bay happens to be both the environmental regulator and the commercial promoter of this project! (It regulates with one hand what it is touting with the other.) In a similar travesty of governance, the entire issue is being booted upstairs to be evaluated by a Board of Inquiry – whose members, once again, will be chosen by the same central and local government agencies that have already declared themselves wedded to the Ruataniwha project.

As Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman told RNZ this morning, transparency is desirable. If the aim really is to pursue intensive dairying whatever the environmental cost – even if that involves turning the Tukituki River, as Norman says, into an industrial drain – then that should be stated openly, rather than a process being followed whereby the relevant science is suppressed. BTW here’s the Tukituki River in its current state.

The whole episode has been a devastating expose of how business is done by central and local government, 2013.

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