No more money for Dodgy Socialist Dam

The Dodgy Socialist Dam is being squeezed out of existence.

With less than a week until a decision is made on the future of the Ruataniwha Dam, the regional council chair has said he doesn’t “want another penny spent” on it.

This outburst from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chair Rex Graham came during a corporate and strategic committee meeting this week, when councillors spent several hours in a robust discussion on the next steps of the scheme.  

Included in the discussion were recommendations that a new condition precedent be included before council invests, and an existing condition altered.

There are currently four conditions precedent. Last July the council voted that three of these had been met – authorising a draw-down of $80m, less development costs, for investment in the scheme.

But progress on the RWSS stalled after a new council was elected late last year, with a review commissioned into the key legal, financial, economic, environmental and engineering elements of the scheme.

During Wednesday’s meeting it was revealed this $150,000 review was part of an increase in council expenditure on the scheme of up to $700,000. Also included was a Deloitte peer review of the scheme.

This meant that council investment – at least on the balance sheet – would be “slightly over” the agreed $80m.

Council chair Rex Graham said this was what had caused him to proclaim during the meeting that “enough is enough”, and that he would vote against every resolution “that spends one more dollar on this project”.

When asked to clarify his comments yesterday, Mr Graham said he wanted no more ratepayer money spent on the scheme until a decision was made on its future.

To date, council has invested around $19.5m into the scheme. Its future will be discussed at a meeting next Wednesday.

It’s dead. Now to work out the mess and who is responsible. Local scaffolders will be putting their hands up for the tender on the gibbets that need to be erected.

-HB Today

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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.