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. 

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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.