Did Nick and Doris conspire on this?

The dodgy socialist dam is relying on dodgy socialists in Wellington giving away land to get around the law.

A legal loophole could let the Department of Conservation swap away 23 hectares of Ruahine Forest Park, to be flooded as part of a proposed Hawke’s Bay dam project, without consulting the public.

Internal briefing documents show DOC advised Hawke’s Bay Regional Council that a concession to flood a section of the park was unlikely to be granted. Instead, a way around that would be a land swap, which was its preferred position, it told the council.

Under the Conservation Act, DOC cannot exchange conservation land for private land unless it has been downgraded to stewardship land. Before any conservation land can be reclassified, it must go through a public consultation process.

But DOC spokesman Rory Newsam said in this case, Ruahine Forest Park had never been “formally gazetted” as conservation land – though it was “deemed to be managed” as conservation land. 

This is just another dodgy dealing by the dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council. Any sensible government would walk away before it starts delivering ministers heads.

The dam, deemed a “project of national significance”, has been embroiled in controversy since its inception.

Last month, Conservation Minister Nick Smith denied he meddled in the submission process for the dam.

A 32-page draft submission was prepared by DOC, raising concerns over the science being used to mitigate water pollution in the Tukituki catchment. But that submission was pared down to two paragraphs, which made no mention of the original concerns, after Smith inquired about the submission.

Sources inside the Hawkes Bay Regional Council are telling me that MPI have advised that the dam is not economically viable and MFE have ignored the law to call the project in because the Minister insisted. 


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Andrewj

    cue bono ?

  • JC

    DoC are correct to state that forest parks have a protection status lower than national parks. They were designed that way so that a plethora of management practices could be used as appropriate for commercial and recreational use.. up and including logging of native bush.

    However, the parks have.. or at least did have very active committees of representatives of the park users who were always consulted about general management and all new proposals.

    It would be interesting to see the minutes of the Ruahine FP committee wrt the dam proposal.


  • David Broome


    The owner of the farm that has denied access to the site of the proposed Ruataniwha Catchment Proposal dam strongly denies Labour leader David Cunliffe’s inference that he is part of a conspiracy.

    Mr Cunliffe had unsuccessfully applied to visit the dam site last week, as had expert witnesses for the board of inquiry’s public hearing of the proposal.

    “If someone visits tomorrow I have to knock off docking and drop hot wires [electric fences] – it’s like Fort Knox,” Mr Preston said.

    “For people to infer I am somehow part of a conspiracy to block people out of this place incenses me.

    “I know it looks bad because of the eighth [final inquiry submission date] but the reason I set the 10th was I would have finished docking and be through the first cycle of my calving – it would be down to one hot wire to get out there.”

    He said Fish and Game, Forest and Bird and David Cunliffe’s office all rang in the evening, hoping to have an entourage escorted to the dam site the next morning.

    “It is just totally unreasonable on me. I am an unpaid host and they have all been behaving badly.

    “I couldn’t have taken the hour off – we are trying to dock in the middle of the day and there is three hours’ cattle work in the morning and two at night.

    “That sort of attitude is not fair on me, on my business, and health and safety protocol.”

    He said the only payment he had received for co-operating with dam site access was $300 for resowing a damaged winter-feed crop.

    If the dam goes ahead, the 9000 stock unit farm would be reduced to 8000 because of extra land compulsorily acquired under the Public Works Act, but he is pro dam for the good of the wider community.

    “Sixty years ago today I was born in Waipawa.

    “As a kid Waipukurau and Waipawa were prosperous.

    “I’m for the dam because I want to see my community rebuild its wealth – and this is its chance.”

    • cows4me

      The farmer should have told the pricks to book a date. Shit I bet if the same farmer showed up at Cunny’s office and demanded to see him he would soon be shown the door. Why do officials think they have the right to drop in on a farmer at any time, it sure doesn’t work both ways.

    • Patrick

      Good on ya mate, bunch of suits expect they can give a few hours notice & the cockie will drop everything to allow them to parade across his farm. Stuff them, make an appointment, get the cockies agreement like any other business arrangement.
      He needs to stop work, go around dropping fences to allow these tossers access, sort the fences after they leave & then do the work he put off to accommodate them.
      Oh & what ever happened to the OSH requirements Labour were forcing on cockies, wouldn’t Cunliffe & Co have to go through a safety induction & have hazards identified prior to gaining access to the farm – or does Cunliffe carry an exemption from his own laws?

  • David Broome



    Central Hawke’s Bay farmers are continuing to show strong interest in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme with close to a hundred so far signing expressions of interest to take water from the scheme.

    The scheme has the potential to provide secure irrigation over 25,000-30,000 hectares of land for farming, while improving the water quality and summer flows in the Tukituki River. Once operational the scheme is expected to create around 2,250 new jobs throughout the region.

    The Scheme’s Commercial Manager Duncan MacLeod says he has received 97 expressions of interest for 38.9 million cubic metres of water, covering 12,000 hectares.

    “There is genuine interest in the scheme from a mix of current and potential irrigators who are keen to get access to secure water for their farming operations,” says Mr MacLeod.

    He says farmers are awaiting a more accurate water price and some detail on the scheme’s design, including pressure and delivery points, which is due later this year once a decision has been made on who will design and build the water storage scheme. Bids from two construction consortia are currently being assessed by an expert panel.

    Duncan MacLeod says to date the interest in irrigation water is coming from a variety of land users including dairying, arable, and sheep and beef production.

    “The largest proportion of future land use is currently a mix of arable and red meat production.”

    Meanwhile, hearings will be held in Hawke’s Bay next month by the Environmental Protection Authority’s Board of Inquiry considering resource consents for the water storage scheme, alongside HBRC’s Tukituki Plan Change.”

    • Andrewj

      That’s bullshit, no one has signed up. Its disingenuous at the best. We have now all been put on five year water consents, I know I’ve just done mine. They are forcing us all to express interest because if the dam goes ahead and we haven’t, we will no longer have access to water when our consents finish.
      Expressions of interest need to become finalised and its not going to happen at .25 cents a m3.

      Im sick of all this bullshit, do you know the HBRC spends I hear over 800k a year on Public Relations. This is part of the spend.

      • David Broome

        Oh Andrew here we go. No one has signed up but 40% of the capex will be Ngai Tahu/TrustPower. No one has signed up but 97 farmers have signed EoI’s for 12,000ha. But hey, don’t let reality get in the way of your venom. I love this bit the most “I hear over 800k a year on Public Relations’. Mate ring them and ask them OR read the annual report OR ask a councillor OR lodge a request under the Local Government Official Information & Meetings Act 1987! If you can write comments on a blog you can presumably compose an email but I bet you won’t.

        • te ao marama

          why don’t you just tell us how much they are paying?

        • Andrewj

          Ok, I asked a Councillor and he told me 800k +. I trust him, he also told me that when he reads the media report he often doubts he was even at the meeting.
          An expression of interest is non binding. I’m in the scheme are you?
          The original scheme was to return the dam to the farmers in 35 years, from then on the farmers would own the dam and the water, then it got pushed out to 90 years now its never. I’m happy to debate with you but will not enter into innuendo and I will not say something I cannot back up.
          The water flows in the Mak river are insufficient, the council has poor flow data, there is doubt about the area the river could irrigate without affecting summer flows in the Tuki Tuki. The cost of water is uneconomic(party because of the low river flows, Opua 43 m3 Makarora 12 m3) and with Fonterra shares at records its not economic to dairy even with free water.
          This scheme will only work with a massive ratepayer subsidy, something not being mentioned.

          On top of that our main market is now China and every bit extra we produce ends up there, to be so dependent on one market and to be borrowing to supply it more is nuts.