14 Oct 2013

Councillor floats idea of referendum on dam

2:53 pm on 14 October 2013

A newly elected Hawke's Bay regional councillor has floated the idea of a public referendum on the Ruataniwha water storage scheme.

Peter Beaven, former chief executive of Pipfruit New Zealand, stood for the council as part of the Grower Action Group which was protesting at the council's water restrictions on the Heretaunga Plains during this year's drought.

Three of the four candidates aligned with the group were elected and a fourth is likely to gain a seat. The final result will be announced on Wednesday after all special votes are counted.

Mr Beaven says while he's not opposed to the Ruataniwha dam, he feels the public deserves a lot more detail on the scheme and believes a referendum could be ideal.

"Some people have been led to believe that somehow it's going to fix the problems of the Heretaunga Plains and that's not the case at all. The water that's kept as a result of the Ruataniwha dam would be used in southern Hawke's Bay."

Mr Beaven says a lot of work needs to be done before the dam gets approval from the people of Hawke's Bay.

He says the success of the Grower Action Group show's it's not just the horticultural sector that is concerned about water management in Hawke's Bay.