Topics: Environment, Water

Ruataniwha Dam proposal opens new can of worms

By Maiki Sherman
  • North Island: East Coast
  • Wellington

It seems a whole new can of worms has been opened regarding the Ruataniwha Dam proposal for the Hawke's Bay with accusations surfacing about Conservation Minister Nick Smith's conduct, and now Ngāi Tahu has waded into it all.

This is the Tukituki River, which will be impacted by the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

According to the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP, it's the impact on the river which is of concern to Ngāti Kahungunu.  She was the chief executive of the tribe's authority before taking up her parliamentary position.  

Ngāi Tahu is now involved in the project.  They've just signed an MoU to potentially invest in the dam scheme. 

Despite Ngāti Kahungunu wanting six months to consult with its constituents on the possibility of investing, it wasn't to be.

As well as that, accusations have been fired at the Minister, Nick Smith, claiming he pressured the Department of Conservation which resulted in the downsizing of its submission on the issue. 

From November an independent board of inquiry will hold hearings into the matter.  

If the decision goes the way of the regional council, construction will begin next year.