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Ruataniwha Saga Continues

As if the Havelock North disaster has not provided sufficient drama for Hawkes Bay, the Appeals Court decision backing Forest and Birds's appeal against DoC plan's to swap reserve land to enable the proposed reservoir to proceed  has caused conniptions for the Hawkes Bay Regional Investment Company - a CCO of the Regional Council.

In its inimitable fashion, its Chair - Andy Pearce refuses to llie down and admit defeat - the Dam would remain empty for ever if built without the promised DoC Reserve land. DoC may or not be in total support of its political masters who are clearly also leaning on the ACC to provide an essential $80m to furfil the capital requirements of the project.

Pearce may be contemplating a 'land seizure' under the Public Works Act, but that would have to be done through the Council, and would face huge legal hurdles. Heaven only knows what other remedies are open to them - probably very few at this stage, but it does not seem to have discouraged the promoters in any way. DoC could try to overturn the Appeals Court decision in the SupremeCourt,but that seems unlikely. 

What needs to be recognised, even before opponents can hang up their hats on this decision, is that it would never have happened without the resources and determination of Forest & Bird. Its stands firm on issues that really matter, and seems to have remarkable success in the courts of this land in stopping projects that have hugely negative downsides. In fact, there is no other with the credibility of Forest & Bird.

We can only hope that this set-back is the last needed to kill this totally outrageous project before one sod is turned, but don't hold your breath - the HBRIC have high level Government support that transcends environment issues and simply pushes supposed economic benefits. Witness their Hauraki Gulf aquaculture ambitions. 




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