The Regional Council must be getting very worried that their support of the Ruataniwhia Dam is waning. Not only have they had to admit that debt levels will jump by 530% to pay for the dam, Michael Bassett-Foss has acknowledged that this project is now reliant on “someone in Hawkes Bay with a lazy $10 million” because the farmers on the Ruataniwhia Plains can’t justify investing in the very expensive water from the dam. Sam Robinson pointed out “it is not in the communities interest for speculators to be allowed to invest in water-supply contracts” yet this is exactly what Mr Bassett-Foss is advocating. When did we, the rate payers, get the opportunity to vote on the privatisation of our water? The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has no mandate from their rate payers to do this, or even to proceed with the dam.
I find it amusing that Mr Newman has used a sports park analogy to justify his conflict of interest in being simultaneously CEO of both the Regional Council and the Investment Company. Another sports park analogy Mr Newman may wish to consider is that of the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, which was built without great rate payer support and is now an albatross around the neck of the Dunedin City Council. Food for thought.
Published 7 Feb 2012