Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to present to my submission.
With respect to the oil & gas industry I again remind you of the resolution you passed as part of the long term plan process. I would also like to thank members of staff who met with a group from Don’t Frack the Bay recently. This is the beginning of what I hope will continue to be positive dialogue between the community and HBRC around the expected introduction of the oil & gas industry into the region.
It is right and proper that the risks to the ongoing viability of HBRIC are listed in the annual plan. As a rate payer I wish to be assured that the assets of HBRIC – specifically the Port of Napier – are not being unnecessarily put at risk by investment decisions being made by HBRIC around the RWS.
Hence my concern with the use of the term “strong project management by the Board of HBRIC” to mitigate against RWS project cost rises. Contrary to staff comments, the way in which the directors were appointed is irrelevant. What is relevant, was the decision to appoint director Scott to the panel hearing Plan Change 5 which was, in my opinion naïve, given the obvious perceived conflict of interest. Similarly the process used by the Chairman of HBRIC in requesting a 600% increase in director’s fees was also, I believe, naive. Once bitten twice shy. Therefore it is the naivety of some of the past decisions made around HBRIC do not give me the confidence the board actually has the ability to manage a project the size of the RWS competently.
HB Today has reported that since the appointment of (I understand) 2 staff to promote the RWS to farmers, only 20 farmers have signed ‘expressions of interest’. It is obvious that the farming community is not beating a path to the door of HBRC to sign up to the RWS. I think it is naive to claim that risk of farmer uptake is only ‘medium’ when it should be ‘high’
It is pleasing to note that staff have recognised that it would prudent to add political risk into the matrix and I hope you support this.
Which brings me to the issue of Cadmium. The recent investigation and report quoted by staff was the same one that I quoted from. If you feel that 2006 is recent, then that is your prerogative, because that is when report was in fact dated.
If routine monitoring for cadmium is being undertaken by HBRC I am unable to find any reports that show the results. Like a number of issues that effect the environment cadmium levels are now subject to media scrutiny with Campbell Live devoting an entire segment to this issue on 11 April this year. I believe it is important that HBRC is proactive in monitoring and reporting on these issues.
Given the likely change in land use to come from RWS I believe it would be prudent of HBRC to be transparent about cadmium issues in Hawkes Bay hence my request that monitoring should be included and funded as part of a level service measure. If this is already been done as intimated by the staff response then these reports should be easily locatable by ratepayers.
Finally, with regards to my support of the funding request for the environment centre I offer the contrary view. How does funding the environment centre not improve HBRC’s performance and effectiveness with it’s ratepayers? I recall when I was in the BNZ they decided to cease all local sponsorship and centralise it to ‘maximise return on spend’. One of the unintended consequence of this decision was that as the local representative of a business making profits of $1B per annum I was unable to gift a box of golf balls for the local golf clubs closest to the pin competition. It made the BNZ look cheap. HBRC does some fantastic things at a community level such as replanting schemes etc and I would suggest to you that this is another one. I ask you to think very carefully about what the bureaucratic goobbly gook wording of the comments by staff actually means and just ask yourselves – does this request seem a good thing to do.
Thank you for your time.