11 Oct 2013

Ngati Kahungunu urges voters to consider dam

7:44 pm on 11 October 2013

Ngati Kahungunu is determined to delay the Ruataniwha water storage project in Hawke's Bay, and suggests the local authority elections could be a way to sabotage the plan.

Ngati Kahungunu is determined to delay the Ruataniwha water storage project in Hawke's Bay, and suggests the local authority elections could be a way to sabotage the plan.

People have until noon on Saturday to return their ballot papers.

Ngati Kahungunu is against the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's proposed Ruataniwha dam, partly because the council declined an iwi request to extend consultation over the water project.

Multiple issues over the structure have been raised by a range of individuals and groups.

Some concerns have included the possibility of flooding Waipawa, that it could be toxic to the Tukituki River and that the size of the dam could trigger an earthquake.

Iwi chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says Ngati Kahungunu is advocating for a change in council representatives.

People could angry enough to vote for new councillors, who would turn the dam proposal around, he says.

Federated Farmers vice-president William Rolleston has said climate implications, such as droughts and heatwaves, need to be considered.

He says farmers need to prepare, and water storage systems such as the Ruataniwha dam could help mitigate extremes of climate.