Hawke’s Bay Regional Council – Verbal Submission on 2015 LTP

Kia ora koutou katoa. Thank you for taking the time to hear my submission.

Firstly thank you for attempting to improve engagement around the LTP process by implementing the Big 6 discussion process. Staff have already acknowledged that things could have been done better but for a first attempt it demonstrated a slight shift in culture for the good.

On Sunday, I spent all morning at the market on Marine Parade manning a Green Party stall. I was after signatures on a petition about cleaning up the Waikato River. As you know I’m quite fond of talking and the issues of water and climate change were raised a number of times unprompted.

The public anger about the way that HBRC is managing water issues in Hawke’s Bay is palpable. Most of the people I spoke to on Sunday used the word corrupt. This was something of a challenge to me because for all our differences I have never considered that those who sit around this table make decisions for personal financial gain. Stupidity, ego, and arrogance maybe – but never personal financial gain. When I find myself having to defend your integrity I think you have a real problem of perception that cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet. Let this be a wake up call for you.

The other thing I got was a sense that there is genuine concern about the effects climate change is going to have on our community, but that we can’t do anything about it. This is nonsense of course. They were pleased that the Green Party was publicly discussing, and taking the government to task about the issue but felt that there was no one else in authority showing leadership on climate change.

This is why I found it disappointing that whilst HBRC acknowledges that climate change is a strategic issue, by proposing no specific initiatives for reducing carbon and regional emissions you ignore one of the major contributors to climate change. Why spend millions of dollars on a cure without treating the symptoms?

You have some plans to mitigate infrastructure challenges, but what are you doing to become carbon neutral? Yesterday I challenged Napier City Council to work towards becoming carbon neutral. I throw down the gauntlet and make the same challenge to you now. The thing is, with all your forestry plantations you are probably already there. Why not trumpet it to the world?

In WWI and WWII there were hundreds of divisions fighting on behalf of the allies. New Zealand contributed one in both wars. One out of hundreds. Was our contribution worthless because it was so small? I think not. Both times our division excelled and are still spoken of as being one of the best, not only by our allies, but by our enemies. If we were prepared to make a minor contribution to the numbers in war, why do we find it so difficult to do so in peace? To do nothing is to surrender. I don’t think the citizens of Hawke’s Bay want you to surrender to climate change. I think the citizens of Hawke’s Bay want you to fight.

I now wish to move onto the Ngaruroro Water Storage Scheme. I have to ask what on earth are you thinking? Given the way in which the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme has been handled to date how can you possibly imagine that the people of Hawke’s Bay are ready to go through that all again?

At the last annual plan consultation I spoke with you about better engaging the public in the process. A couple of lines in the Big 6 document is not leading the discussion, it is hiding it away. Has HBRC had any press releases, or held public meetings around this investment? Has any debate been had in public about committing ourselves to this funding?

The mistrust of HBRC generated in the wider Hawke’s Bay community by the way in which the $80,000,000 funding process for was managed the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme is very real and should be of great concern for HBRC. Two paragraphs in the 2012 LTP was hardly sufficient. Yet you are attempting to do the same here. Continuing approval of the $30,000,000 in funding for Ngaruroro Water Storage Scheme without open and transparent scoping work being completed will on exacerbate this level of mistrust.

Again, thank you for your time, although I don’t know why. I would like to finish on a positive note but find myself struggling to find anything of major consequence. The stalling of the TANK group process due to incompetent facilitation and lack of science to my mind is an indication on how poorly you are functioning at present. You have had some small wins though, with making a start with Energy Futures, possum control, and native plantings but if I had to rate your overall performance as an organisation it would have to be a D-.

E noho rā

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