Dodgy Socialist Dam in Trouble?

The dodgy socialist dam in Hawkes Bay looks like it is running into a pretty major set of problems. Sources inside the HBRC, DoC and parliament are telling me that Nick Smith is in trouble over interfering with the DoC submission on the dodgy socialist dam.

Pressure is building on Conservation Minister Nick Smith over claims a Department of Conservation staff member quit “because of his political interference” on a report into a controversial dam proposal.

Smith has been accused of leaning on DOC after a critical report into the proposed Hawke’s Bay Ruataniwha Dam was scrapped and replaced with a two-paragraph submission to a Board of Inquiry. He has strenuously denied using his influence to protect the proposal and also denied expressing an opinion about the initial report.

Nick Smith has some form using political influence.  

It is the second time Smith has faced allegations of political interference. He was forced to resign his portfolios last year after sending a letter on ministerial letterhead to help a friend with an ACC claim.

For those who cannot read between the lines the following says DoC reckons the dam is dodgy.

The draft submission ran to more than 30 pages and said proposed water management changes were “risky” and “untested”. The leaked email shows Dr Smith had concerns and asked to see a copy.

Two days later DOC submitted its document to the Board of Inquiry. It was two paragraphs long and made no reference to water quality.

So between the two days Nick Smith had a copy of the draft submission and when the submission was made DoC, without political influence, decided the Dam wasn’t dodgy?

Nick better be hoping that protecting crony capitalism doesn’t cost him his job for the second time.

Asked in Parliament by Labour MP Ruth Dyson if the senior staff member quit “because of his political interference in the submission process,” Smith said: “I have no knowledge that anybody associated with this controversy has resigned.”

He has strongly denied he exerted his influence to protect the $600m project and told Parliament yesterday it was “absolutely not true” that he expressed a view about the draft report.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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