Why doesn’t the HBRC enforce consents?

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council doesn’t enforce consents.

For ten years plus they have allowed the Central Hawkes Bay District Council to discharge above-limits town sewage into rivers at Waupukurau and Waipawa.

Now evidence is emerging of a lack of enforcement in the Chairman’s own patch at Wairoa.

It was revealed yesterday the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have known since 2013 that Waihi Dam was in breach of its resource consent.

The dam, owned by Eastland Group, began discharging silt into Wairoa waterways in December after a sluice gate was damaged in a storm, and was only repaired in March.

Under the terms of the company’s “water right”, which it has held since 1979, the group need to employ an ecologist once a year to carry out one-day field investigations. Water rights precede what is now known as a resource consent.   

When asked in February, the council’s resource use manager Wayne Wright said he was not prepared to comment on whether such work had been carried out by the company, or if there was a record of these field investigations, due to the ongoing inquiries into the situation.

However, yesterday Radio New Zealand claimed the council had requested copies of the yearly ecological survey, and a sediment survey Eastland were required to carry out every two years, in 2013.

They received one sediment survey in 2014 and no ecological survey because Eastland had not carried any out.

It reported the council said the company had breached its consent in respect of the surveys, but no penalties were incurred.

Now the dam is non-functioning and silting up the river.

If the Hawkes Bay Regional Council won’t enforce consents in Waipawa, Waipukurau and now Wairoa, what does it mean if the Dodgy Socialist Dam doesn’t comply with its own consents?


– HB Today


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  • Pete

    Could it be the problem in Wairoa is that the dam is simply holding sediment generated by the activities of other ratepayers further up stream. I doubt the dam itself generates silt. Sure, it will impede the movement of material along the river bed but perhaps the upstream activity is such that an unreasonable amount of material is being allowed to run off land and into the river.

    Maybe more than one or two commercial ratepayers involved in land management practice upstream that generates silt causing the problem. Tough to hang it all on the dam operator.

    • Plum

      If sedimentation is building in the reservoir then it’s up to the dam operator to remove it, not open the sluice gate and destroy a river eco system to save themselves money. If this is the way HBRC conducts its responsibility as an environmental regulator then my river, the Waipawa, is dead in the water.