Another Dodgy Deal with the Dodgy Socialist Dam?

Fenton "Jong-un" Wilson

Fenton “Jong-un” Wilson

The Dodgy Socialist Dam in Central Hawkes Bay got another kick in the arse recently, with the promoters having to pay the costs of appellants in the high court case that highlighted how dodgy the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is.

Word from inside the council staff is that the dam promoters are really struggling to sign up water users, so have come up with some creative clauses in the contracts.

So far the sign ups have been slow.

Contracts signed so far to take water from Hawke’s Bay’s Ruataniwha dam and irrigation project added up to only about 13 percent of the commitment needed to make the scheme commercially feasible.

But the company running the project says farmers representing more than half of the minimum water-take required have made the decision to join the scheme and have asked for contracts.

There is  a big difference between asking for the contract and actually signing up, and according to unhappy staffers at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council there may have to be some renegotiation of contracts as the council is offering water at 1/5 the real price for the first five years just to get people to sign up.

Those who signed up at full price are really unhappy about the new terms.

This is nothing more than corporate welfare and creeping socialism.

This project is a disaster that no private sector person would take on because the economics have never stacked up.

Now the extremely dodgy Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is attempting make ratepayers and tax payer subsidise 80% of the cost of water for the first five year of contracts.


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  • Tony

    Recall must be implemented with Councils. Leighton made a good point after talking with JK. Prime Ministers can be sacked by the caucus but there is no legal way of sacking a Chairman or Mayor.

  • Nebman

    Another local body politician wanting to leave a “Legacy” project so their name will be immortalized forever.

    I wonder if there’s anyway that the total amount spent on this project could be flushed out into the daylight? There must have been well into 7 figures by now and there’s more to come.

  • Peter

    This is about boosting the economy in Hawkes Bay. Hawkes Bay’s economy is about growing food. Pretty much like the rest of NZ.
    The limiting factor for a sustainable economy in Hawkes Bay is water. Having a reliable supply of water minimizes the risk of crop failure during the dry period. If the water issues are not sorted out then HB economy will continue to decline as it has for the past decade. If an enterprise is risky then no one will invest in that business..
    It follows then that if an area that provides a significant input to the National Economy is allowed to decline, then the .National Economy will slide.
    Lets face it. In NZ our sustainable resources are our land, our relatively fertile soil, and an abundance of fresh water. We grow things and we are good at it – at the moment we grow enough to feed 100 million people. This is what our economy is based on at the moment, and frankly what we should be focused on. I have heard all of the technology economy stuff before and it is just vapor ware and an aside to the core of our economy.

    I am concerned that much of this blogs appears to be rhetoric and presents the scheme as risky. Too much perceived risk and investors turn away. I think that if anybody really wants to dig past the agendas and politics of this they will find that this sort of scheme, delivered correctly is fundamental to NZ sustaining itself. Too many enterprises in NZ seem to suffer this fate, starting with a clear vision and then following sustained attack by the haters faltering and then fading away.

    As an engineer of sorts I suggest that like any machine, if something is not right, then fix it, don’t simply destroy it. Every one off engineering solution I have ever seen has had monor to major flaws. However any engineer worth his salt doesn’t abandon hope, they simply engineer a solution and move on. Business as usual.

    SO if you don’t like aspects of this solution to the Hawkes Bays economic woes, then devise a solution. Don’t just destroy it. Otherwise you are just another hater and naysayer. Just another negator of progress. The very people despised in this blog.


    • Nyla

      I totally agree Peter … an ex orchardist from Hastings, water is essentual for all fruit, vegetable, and produce. There are water restrictions even for those agriculture that buy water, last summer saw maize, tomatoes and many other crops die off. Some vegy growers were caught watering at night illegally, but what are they to do, if theyre to survive then the dam is a must, not a maybe. Theres alot of negativity on this subject, and alot are worried about the reasoning and the ‘needed’ permission from some, to get this up and running. As usual the few negativers are costing everyone millions with all the BS theyre putting forward…. just my opinion !!!

      • They aren’t a few negatives…they are planning on killing a river

      • Peter

        I can guarantee that the naysayers will depend on you the grower at some point in their business either directly or indirectly.
        When PSA hit BOP $600M was sucked out of the local economy. When the milk price dropped work dried up overnight. If there is a drought in HB then the local and main economy is directly affected.

    • Dumrse

      “I am concerned that much of this blogs appears to be rhetoric and presents the scheme as risky.” And you are suggesting there is no risk or if there is its minimal ? Ratepayers paying for your water is high risk.

      • Peter

        There is always a risk in any enterprise. It is about managing the risks within the set parameters. For example the N levels. If ecologists, hydrologists, geologists engineers and brighter minds than mine offer that for this river keeping N < 0.8mg/l is an acceptable level of risk, and the system is designed for this the parameters are set and the system can be constructed to meet that condition. However the surest way to destroy a project is to continually shift the goal posts.Thus reducing the permitted N level to <0.5mg/l will add time and costs to the project. Do that enough and the project becomes non viable.
        The issue here is that many people have come together some time ago and through what seems to be a fairly rigorous process (and this is from a distance as I have only read the reports) determined the parameters of this project. It is wrong to make changes at this stage and then turn around and say the project is dodgy due to time and cost over run. Of course there will be over runs – it is simply a consequence of the changes.. It doesn't make the project dodgy.

    • All well and good Peter but what is the point of storing water, paid for by the ratepayers so 120 farmer can have clean water only to turn the Tukituki toxic downstream.

      That is the plan…turn the Tukituki toxic…you might call it whining, but having a river water system so bad that you have to ear waders to enter the water is anathema to me, and all so 120 farmers can have water.

      This is why the Court of Inquiry slammed the dam. If the plans didn’t involve poisoning a river then you wouldn’t find any detractors. But the simple fact is the plans would have killed a river…and you, one who is talking up the benefits of water should be highly worried that a council wants to poison a river.

      On top of that the council is prosecuting the CHB district council for polluting the river already with sewerage discharges…it is insane…on the one hand prosecuting for poisoning a river and the other promoting poisoning a river.

      You want abundant fresh water but the HBRC wants toxic water.

      • Peter

        Well OK. I am going to dig deeper on this. You say it will make the river toxic. My view is that it the river is already toxic, too much water is being taken during low flow periods and this project could be used an opportunity to clean it up.
        However the irrigation scheme is completely different from the dumping of waste water into waterways and the nutrient runoff issues from agricultural operations. This is where focus should be made. All industries have made a great start but they are nowhere near where they should be. My opinion is that people need to stop looking at waste as a liability.

        I have spent the last 10 years off and on trying to sell and implement schemes to remove waste from waterways so I fully support any initiative to remove nutrient that shouldn’t naturally be there from a waterway. My view is that nutrient water = waste water is a valuable resource and we shouldn’t waste it by dumping it the sea or our rivers. I went around and looked at various nutrient removal systems, filters,wetlands, worm farms,, etc, etc and my conclusion is that any waste water should ultimately ‘balanced’ and then irrigated to land. This is done in many countries around the world to the great benefit of all concerned. We are lazy in our disposal of waste water because we have the luxury of so much water, and a negative view on the stuff, much to the detriment of our waterways. Just take a look at the town where you live and check where the waste water from your home ends up…
        Applied correctly so that incoming waste doesn’t dominate the soil flora and fauna the water+nutrients can be used to grow crops. These crops can be used for stock feed, biofuel, anything that takes nutrients up at the incoming rate and preferably a crop that matches the waste water type. Whatever crop it may be, it should be used to generate income to offset the investment. On dairy farms the cost savings from using effluent as a fertilizer is around $10k – $15k per annum. This will at least in part pay back’ over the service life of the installation a typical investment a farmer makes (around $200k) to distribute his effluent over the whole farm. In some cases I have systems where the effluent is injected into the irrigation water for more effective results.
        Where irrigation is used so that the dairy herd is entirely grass fed, nutrient loading on the farm is much reduced as the cows are not depositing dung originating from imported feed. Farms that suffer regular drought conditions and import feed will likely have nutrient runoff problems. Correctly operated Irrigation systems can be used to reduce nutrient discharge from farms.
        Likewise the outputs from standard town and city effluent plants. The problem is that too often councils weaken and back the cheap option rather than the best option, to the detriment of all.

  • cows4me

    If I had signed up early I would be spewing my ring gear out. It’s all or nothing. I would seriously question the discount, the whole project is without doubt dodgy. It now looks more like a trap for life, it’s backers desperate to sign up more indebted slaves, wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.