7 Nov 2014

Groups confident farmers behind dam

6:33 am on 7 November 2014

Irrigation New Zealand and Federated Farmers are confident that Hawkes Bay's proposed Ruataniwha irrigation scheme now has enough support to proceed.

The groups said that, based on this week's 'Now or Never' well attended public meeting held in Waipawa, the scheme had the farmer numbers it needed.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis said those at the meeting got to hear first-hand from farmers who use irrigation and that was a lot more powerful than the "theoretical economics being spouted by detractors" of the dam.

Mr Curtis was referring to the Ropere Consulting economist Peter Fraser, who had crunched the numbers behind Ruataniwha and said they just did not add up.

Mr Fraser said while he was denied the opportunity to speak at the meeting, he still believed that the scheme was financial insanity.

"The council would just be better just getting $600 million, finding a bonfire, putting it on the bonfire and just burning it - because the result would have been worth nothing.

"And what they're proposing to do is worth less than nothing," he said.

The proposed Ruataniwha dam site.

The proposed Ruataniwha dam site. Photo: SUPPLIED

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