Dodgy DOC deal appealed in dodgy dam case

The Dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council is still trying to force their dodgy socialist dam through and Forest & Bird is back in the Court of Appeal trying to get the council and DOC to follow the law.

The Court of Appeal has heard Forest & Bird’s appeal against the High Court approval of the downgrade of conservation land for Hawke’s Bay’s $900 million Ruataniwha water storage project.

In February the High Court approved a land swap in the Ruahine Forest Park between the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, to enable the dam to be built.

DoC is proposing exchanging 22 hectares of protected conservation land in Ruahine Forest Park for 170 hectares of farm land.

It would mean downgrading protected conservation land to stewardship status in order to allow it to be flooded for the dam.

How can 22 hectares of pristine conservation state possibly be swapped for 179 hectares of farmland. It’s not the same. What is the point of a conservation estate if you can just willy-nilly swap bits out to suit a dodgy council plan to build a dodgy dam.

Forest & Bird said the High Court was wrong to allow the land’s specially protected status be revoked for a commercial development.

The protected land is home to several threatened species, such as the New Zealand falcon and long-tailed bats.

Forest & Bird’s environmental solicitor Sally Gepp said until this case, it was understood that only stewardship land could be disposed of.

“To simply extend it to all specially protected areas throughout New Zealand and say that as long as you want to exchange them, that’s a good enough reason to revoke their specially protected status, is a really dangerous precedent that we would be extremely disappointed to see rolled out across the country.”

Forest & Bird has said the land swap put into question the protection of nearly one-third of the public conservation estate.

Yes it sets a bad precedent. I think Forest & Bird have  a good chance in this case, and the Council is going to have to have a re-think…again.

This will once again prove what a dodgy plan it all was in the first place.


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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.