Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Time to end the Ruataniwha disaster

Back in 2013, Hawke's Bay Regional Council wanted to build a dam. Pitched as a "boost to the regional economy", it was really a subsidy, destroying a river and a reserve to funnel money into the private pockets of farmers. Back then, the dam was expected to cost $600 million. Naturally, farmers refused to pay for it, expecting HBRC and private investors to pony up to increase the value of their farms and boost their farming of capital gains.

Today, we learn that the price has increased by 50%, to $900 million. And farmers are still refusing to pay, and now its ACC and the Cullen Fund who are expected to pick up the tab. But if they won't pay, then they can't really expect anybody else to.

This scheme is a disaster, both in environmental and financial terms, And HBRC has wasted millions on it already. Time to cut their losses and pull the plug.

...though they might not have to. Because the only good news in today's report is this:

HBRIC has also struggled to get the minimum number of farmers to buy enough water to make construction viable.

It has set a deadline for Monday for farmers to buy the water or the dam won't go ahead.

So hopefully on Monday they'll finally announce that its all over. OTOH, they've set deadlines before, and always ignored them, so maybe they'll keep trying to scam a subsidy for farmers for a while longer.