No Waimea dam

Written By: - Date published: 2:35 pm, August 17th, 2018 - 26 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, farming, greens, infrastructure, labour, national, nick smith, same old national, water - Tags:

Can’t see this Waimea Dam proceeding.

This is the last dam project still going with state funding support, since it was underway when the government changed last year. Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd has lent it over $22m via Tasman District Council. They are also offering the dam company a $10 million interest free loan, and a $7 million grant. The dam company have raised $16.5 million. That’s $55.5 million ready to go.

But new cost estimates have come in at up to $75.9 million, and they haven’t turned a spade on it yet.

It also needs the Department of Conservation to sell it nearly 10 hectares of land. Shades of Ruataniwha – pretty hard to see the Crown wanting to get pantsed again in the Supreme Court by Forest and Bird.

It also needs a local bill to go through Parliament for that land sale to occur. While it’s rare for a local bill to be opposed by Parliament, the Greens oppose it and it’s pretty hard to see Labour supporting it.

And it needs Tasman District Council to vote for it again on August 28th. I don’t yet see a majority for that vote.

Mayor Kempthorne said that security of water supply was a global issue as well as a very real local issue: “If we go into having no dam, then the constraints on water in Richmond, Mapua, Brightwater, Redwood Valley, Hope in the dry summer months will be very extreme. I am certain that if the dam does not proceed then it or another equivalent solution will be back on the table again at some point, that it will be more expensive and that we will have suffered significant economic, environmental and social costs in the meantime.”

The rain in Tasman really does fall mainly on the plain, but it arrives in great big bursts. Richmond for example has just had its mainstreet rebuilt top to bottom to cope with massive downpours and king tides. Followed by drought.

Somehow this burgeoning population and water-hungry horticultural-based economy needs secure water supplies.

National MP Nick Smith had 9 years and all the funding and political capital in the world to get this thing going.

But this dog won’t hunt.

26 comments on “No Waimea dam”

  1. marty mars 1

    Good. The people have spoken.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Ad. Your post doesn’t seem to correlate well with that of I/S @ NoRightTurn
    “Labour supports Muldoonism

    Last month, National’s Nick Smith pushed a Muldoonist bill aiming to force the Department of Conservation to surrender part of a protected forest park so farmers in his electorate can build a dam for irrigation. Sadly, it seems that Labour has decided to support it:
    However, the Labour Party caucus has agreed to support the legislation while Shane Jones, of NZ First, this week said the social and economic benefits of the dam were large. Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith, who is sponsoring the local bill, in July said he had secured support for it from all 56 National MPs.

    The local bill seeks to gain an inundation easement over 9.67 hectares of conservation land in the Mount Richmond State Forest Park needed for the creation of the reservoir for the proposed dam in the Lee Valley. The bill would also secure a right to construct the dam on Crown riverbed.

    [Green Party co-leader Marama] Davidson said the Green Party believed that conservation land should be protected for its innate values and that the transfer of conservation land “for use as part of a dam cannot be reconciled with the fundamental commitment to protect it for conservation”.

    The Green Party caucus was listening to the concerns of environmentalists “and the local community, and will not support the upcoming Waimea dam-enabling legislation”.

    So, when it comes to a choice between conservation and farmers, Labour chooses farmers. Its good to know which side they’re on, and that they cannot be relied upon to protect the environment. And hopefully, the Greens will be taking that into account when considering their support for government legislation in the future.”

    • Ad 2.1

      I will be as intrigued as you as to how it lands in the First Reading.

      But before that, whether it even survives the Council meeting on the 28th.

      If it doesn’t have that local democratic support I think Ardern will cut it and run.

      After that, there is zero chance Eugenie Sage as Conservation Minister will sign off the sale of land for that purpose.

    • coodale 2.2

      wow, if the Grns oppose it, then they should also offer a better proposal. Hope the local Grns can get some detail published in national news. This is from their website:

      “This dam is a ‘think big’ solution with significant downside risks. There are more sustainable and affordable ways to address the peak season water shortages facing the Tasman Region.”

      “More sustainable and affordable ways…

  3. Cinny 3

    Totally backing the Greens on this one. And as a rate payer am pissed off at the money wasted so far.

    Here’s an idea… how about those nick smith billboard promo farmers on the Waimea Plains, sort out their irrigation systems. Spraying water all over the road during the summer, they’ve been doing that for 30 years or more.

    Here’s another idea, maybe if the farmers on the Waimea Plains planted more tree’s there would be more grass and shelter for animals in the summer months.

    Don’t they get enough water from the rivers? By crikey, put in a desalination plant for irrigation. How much water do they need? There’s no shortage of rivers and streams.

    The valley is stunning, and should be kept that way.

    PS…. Don’t listen to the ‘drought’ narrative. It’s just spin.

    There’s always a few weeks of water restrictions, in the form of restricting outdoor watering.

    Keep your nose out of local body politics nick smith

  4. Exkiwiforces 4

    Having bush walked up there with my late grandfather over the years, also having hunted and fished up up there with my cousins in my youth/ early twenties. It would a shame to see it go under water, but my major concern about this dam is it’s between two known earthquake fault lines especially when geo boffins have been saying NZ is in a period of geological unrest atm.

    If the water is going to be for horticulture, growing hops, forest nursery purposes, cut flowers brewing beer etc then i’m probably would ok with the dam. But it’s to expand the dairy industry then no I won’t support it at all.

    It’s time to start value adding to our export and exporting low cost, value milk powder products

    • Cinny 4.1

      Won’t be for hops 🙂 Not on the waimea plains.

      There’s a number of dairy farms on the Appleby Straight (Waimea Plains)… every election you’ll see nick smiths signs on them. Those farms are run by some old boys, have been for decades, bugger all tree’s for the stock and their sprinklers spray all over the road in the summer.

      There’s also a few vineyards, nick smiths signs are usually on them as well.

      • Exkiwiforces 4.1.1

        Christ, dairying in a place that Isn’t suited for it expect for local town supply which usually on a small. I would hate to see and hear what my late grandfather would say, as they had a farm at the back of Thorpe/ Dovedale area.

        The Waimea Plans to me were full of Market gardens, Hops, Horticulture, Berries, Cut Flowers, Tobacco now banned, and Malt in between mix cropping, sheep, cattle and the dairies for the local supply.

        There are some great soils on the Waimea Plans along with some shitter soils, but they are wrecking it for exporting a low value product called milk powder instead of value adding exports like the MDF factory in Richmond which NZ should be doing.

        But hey let’s just export low value products or raw materials overseas just like Australia does for a quick buck instead of value adding, investing in new technology, also that means investing in our workforce for the long term future to increase the overall wealth of NZ therefore making New Zealand great again.

  5. Dorothy Bulling 5

    The answers may better lie in agriculture that is suitable for a local climate. If we irrigate everything we risk causing damage. Better to farm with the climate than against it. We have already seen huge damage to waterways round the country, encouraged in part by irrigation and farming unsuitably on land everywhere.

  6. Chris T 6

    I think we know now that when the Greens say they oppose something it doesn’t mean they won’t do it

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      Because, sometimes, as a junior partner in a coalition Government, they have to do some things they are opposed to. I hope those “things” remain relatively inconsequential things.

      • Chris T 6.1.1

        Fair call

        You mean the opposite of them supporting the Waka jumping bill

        Where they don’t have to and it isn’t inconsequential

        • greywarshark 6.1.1.1

          Chris T
          You show all the signs of a good firestarter here. Just asking the cliche negative comments that get everyone’s teeth on edge.

      • Chris T 6.1.2

        Oh

        And they are “junior partner” because they chose to be

        • McFlock 6.1.2.1

          Nah.
          They’re the “junior partner” because everyone knew that NZ1 wouldn’t go with Lab without the Greens jumping on board, so either the Greens made some concessions or there’d be no lab govt. But both sides negotiated for their policies in good faith, so the greens are still partners and not supplicants or sellouts.

  7. Kevin 7

    Grow what the land can sustain. Simple really.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      Kevin iit isn’t simple. If the water isn’t there it doesn’t matter what the land can sustain.

  8. Andrea 8

    Be much easier to change the farming methods, catch the rain in the soils, use swales, and be quit of water demanding livestock farming (dairying).

    If the reservoir is needed for water security then those wishing to live in the area also have to do their part. Growing lawns needing frequent cutting, for example, is a stupidity we could readily phase. out.

  9. SPC 10

    It does look like going ahead, the company has said it will put in more. If the council does the same, then there is every chance Shane Jones will provincial fund it – he has said they need to put up their share of the increased cost which implies, if they do then he … .

  10. Ian 11

    Storage dams are a no brainer .Humans need fresh water to survive. Insurance against climate change.

    • Pat 11.1

      Thats true to an extent… water storage for unsuitable ag/hort on the other hand needs to be weighed very carefully against environmental impacts.

  11. greywarshark 12

    It all sounds so reasonable and practical. How many of the things that national have accomplished have been reasonable and practical. (Rhetorical question.)
    I don’t trust them appearing to care about the people’s future whether through the lips of Mayor Kempthorne or someone else. I can’t help thinking that we would end up if a dam was built, seeing cows replacing the berry fruit that the area has worked up into a good sized industry.

  12. Flossie 13

    As far as I am aware there is only one dairy farm on the Waimea Plains now. There has only been three in recent years that I am aware of and the most recent dairy conversion in Spring Grove is now being redeveloped as a hop garden. Likewise the one near Golden Hills corner has also been redeveloped to horticulture. There is a proliferation of hops being planted, presumably thanks to all the boutique breweries.
    The big problem with the Waimea Dam is that ratepayers are projected to pay for about 85% of it but use only 15% of the water. Another proposal of three smaller storage reservoirs at various points of the river is not even being considered by the pro dam councillors at this stage.
    The Lee Valley (the site of the dam) is a very popular swimming and picnicing area and the only fresh water river in the area for this purpose.
    I am very disappointed to see Labour supporting this dam.

  13. Philj 14

    This dam, was promoted from the start, for the corporate farmers. They have been unable to fund it and now expect the ratepayers to pay a huge amount. Labour must not bail in the ratepayers by bailing out the corporate interest.

  14. Don't worry. Be happy 15

    Will the wonderful swimming holes on the Lee River be destroyed?

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