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Greenpeace go to court over Ruataniwha

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/06/2016

Greenpeace has launched a legal challenge against the planned Hawke's Bay Ruataniwha water storage scheme, saying the public should have more of a say in the controversial project.

It has lodged papers in the High Court at Napier challenging two non-notified resource consents given to the Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company in January.

The move to grant the consents without notifying the public - because the environmental effects were deemed minor - was inconceivable, says Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Gen Toop.

"The public are being asked to fork out hundreds of millions of dollars on a dam that will cause more industrial dairy farming and more pollution of our rivers," she said in a statement.

"It's just wrong that the public, who will lose out on clean rivers thanks to the dam, have been shut out of this process."

The Ruataniwha 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.

Forest & Bird have already unsuccessfully tried to appeal a Department of Conservation land swap which allows the project to proceed.

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