Kia ora koutoa katoa, I’m Paul Bailey, Hawke’s Bay Regional Councillor.
Tomorrow is the first full meeting of the Regional Council for this term. The agenda includes a number of items which I think will send a message about the future intentions of council.
The newly elected council has heard the voters loud and clear so we will be starting the discussion about the review of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. This is the start of a process which is required to potentially wind up the scheme. We will also be considering placing a moratorium on any further spending on the scheme. After all why throw more good money after bad?
Supporters of the scheme have been banging on about voters being misinformed and being told half truths. When I ask how, they have no answer. They can not tell me where I have misinformed or told a half truth.
These types of divisive clichéd statements need to be put to bed. The easiest way to do this is to open the curtains and shine sunlight on the ins and outs of the scheme.
There are many voters who don’t feel this is necessary. They think the scheme is a lemon. I agree. There are also many voters who are not sure because they lack information. It is for these voters that I think we need to go through a process of reviewing the scheme. As for the schemes supporters, it is unlikely they will ever change their minds.
I remain convinced that once the facts of the matter start coming out the scheme will fail under it’s own weight. There is also a matter of finding out just what costs we are up for. I am looking forward to transparency in the discussion around the scheme. Something that has been sadly lacking to date.
There are other discussions which we will also be looking at starting. How do we deal with the Water Bottling Plant issue? What can be done about Feedlots? And what needs to be done to place a moratorium on fracking. Huge topics in their own right.
So some big changes are ahead for the Regional Council.
There is every chance Hawke’s Bay will be the center of national media attention tomorrow. For positive reasons. Hawke’s Bay is going to be front and center of something really exciting. I hope you are up for the challenge and are prepared to participate. Because we are all in this together. The future of Hawke’s Bay belongs to us and no one else.
Thanks for listening, I’m Paul Bailey, Hawke’s Bay Regional Councillor.