RWSS Business Case Questioned – Letter to HB Today

One of the many issues which concern me about the business case for RWSS that was presented to the Regional Council last week was the way in which it perpetrates some of the myths set out in the Butcher report which were debunked during the Board of Inquiry hearings.

If the promise of 2,500 jobs is to eventuate there would need to be significant investment by horticulturists in the irrigation zone. In his evidence to the BOI John Bostock made the following statement “I know all the major growers in Hawkes Bay, and I have not heard of any wanting to make new orchard investments in the Ruataniwha basin” What does Butcher know that someone with the standing of John Bostock doesn’t?

I was not aware that it is HBRIC’s responsibility to make any comment about the effects Plan Change 6 will have on the economy given that Plan Change 6 is being managed by HBRC, not HBRIC. It is these sorts of blurred boundaries which are indicative of why HBRC should not be both dam promoter (via HBRIC) and catchment regulator.

In any event the economic cost that HBRIC is so fond of stating makes the assumption that the status-quo in terms of farming systems is going to be maintained. Call me naive if you like but I have a lot of faith in our farming community to find and use more viable, sustainable farming systems that those currently practiced. Our number 8 wire mentality dictates that we are innovators so lets move away from high volume, low value, industrial agriculture and genuinely focus on increasing and holding value, by using world class quality food production systems.

Submitted 31 Mar 14, Published 3 Apr 14

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