HBRIC’s report remains the highlight of the month – Letter to Editor

It must be coming to the end of the month because it’s HBRIC reporting time. They have presented three papers to this months HBRC meeting and, as usual, there is more than meets the eye.

Firstly there is the question of how are the water contract sales tracking. Well it’s very difficult to tell. Not for the first time HBRIC have changed the method of reporting. This makes it nigh on impossible to make month on month comparisons. Even for our super capable Regional Councillors such as A Dick, C Scott, and D Pipe. John Key once said “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”. Seems to me HBRIC has something to hide. The only logical conclusion is yet another poor sales month. It needs to be asked, why does the reporting method for water sales change every couple of months?

If I am wrong in my assumption about water sales why is HBRIC now talking about financial close being in the first quarter of 2016? HBRIC themselves claimed that financial close was ‘determined as four months after receipt of consents that are no longer subject to legal challenge’.  This precedent was met in July so by my reckoning HBRIC should have met financial close conditions by the end of this month.

But why is the date of financial close important. Firstly because HBRIC are asking increase their budget by $1.354 million. They want to be allowed to borrow a further $500,000 against the Port to meet ongoing costs of around $250,000 per month. $922,000 is also being sort from the tax payers purse. Secondly because they are looking to start construction on the dam before all condition precedents have been met. To my mind this indicates that unless a definitive financial close date is set then there is a very good chance that good money will continue to be thrown after bad.

HBRIC blames Forest & Bird for the delays in reaching financial close. I am unsure how this could be. The DOC land swap issue does not effect the price of RWSS (and therefore the cost of water), merely whether or not it proceeds. Therefore it should be of no consequence for farmers intending to sign up. That HBRIC are using this as an excuse is nothing more than a smoke screen. One has to wonder why HBRIC is intending to spend a further $85,000, on top of $205,000 already spent, on this process when it is an issue between DOC & F&B.

So yet another poor month for HBRIC in my eyes. And yet the supertaker of poor decision making will no doubt continue on it’s merry way backed by 5-4 votes as usual.

Submitted 24/11/15

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