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Dam protest delivers urine to ACC

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/05/2016

Hawke's Bay's Ruataniwha dam project has attracted a Greenpeace protest involving six tonnes of dairy sewage in central Wellington.

The environmental group delivered eight industrial tanks of cow urine and dairy waste to the front doors of ACC's Molesworth St offices on Wednesday morning.

The tanks blocked the two main doors but staff can still use a side door.

ACC is a potential investor in the controversial Ruataniwha Water Scheme, but Greenpeace spokeswoman Genevieve Toop says it would be throwing away taxpayer money over an environmentally damaging project.

"We think that's just taking the piss... millions of tonnes of pollution like this end up in our rivers already and it's only going to get worse," Ms Toop told NZ Newswire.

The project shouldn't need government backing, she said.

"That's just a clear sign the economics of the Ruataniwha dam don't stack up."

Greenpeace says more than 20,000 people have signed its petition calling on the government to stop funding industrial scale irrigation, like the plans at Ruataniwha and the Central Plains Water Scheme in Canterbury.

Last week, the company behind the Ruataniwha project - Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company Ltd - announced it had enough land users signed up for the project to proceed.

The project's dam will hold about 100 million cubic metres of water and allow growers to irrigate more than 26,000ha and potentially increase the Bay's GDP by $380 million.

The estimated cost of the contentious water storage project has ballooned to more than $900m after initially being touted as costing around $600m.

The dam has come under fire from Forest & Bird who is currently appealing a High Court decision that allowed the Department of Conservation to unwind environmental protection on land in Hawke's Bay which will allow the project to proceed.

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