Tractor rally a water restrictions flow-on

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 19/09/2013
Hastings tractor protest
JOHN COWPLAND/Fairfax NZ

GETTING TRACTION: The tractor protest winds its way through Hastings.

Relevant offers

Hawke's Bay

Tui head brewer preparing to 'unleash the beast' after revamp at Mangatainoka McElnay: Building the fence at the top of the cliff Olivia leads school to top region's hockey division Cordons lifted from sulphur fire in Napier Scrutiny of police actions prior to arrest of man who died Traditional flax bassinets for Bay babies aimed at curbing infant deaths Person trapped after two cars collide near Hastings Fears notorious criminal John Gillies will be released without rehabilitation Hawke's Bay District Health Board first to give free GP visits to under-18s Central Hawke's Bay council charged over wastewater treatment plants

Hundreds of tractors clogged the streets of Hastings yesterday as growers displayed their dissatisfaction with regional council members.

The Grower Action Group organised the protest as part of its campaign to throw out the incumbent Hawke's Bay Regional Council because of its hardline stance on riverflow limits.

About 500 people gathered yesterday to listen to the group's grievances. Spokesman Paul Paynter said the council threatened people's livelihoods when it blocked water takes during last summer's drought.

"Water is the lifeblood of Hawke's Bay. It was a terrorist act."

In 2011, the council imposed a minimum flow rate of 2400 litres a second for the Ngarororo River and Raupare Stream after it found taking water from the groundwater bores near the waterways affected their flows.

Previously the water takes were not tied to the river's flow.

Last summer's drought meant water was turned off for several periods.

The council maintains that the flow limits are needed to protect ecology of the rivers. It is funding a study to investigate the impact of each water take in the area.

Mr Paynter said the jury was out on how damaging the water restrictions were to this season's crops. Trees had died or been badly damaged by the lack of water, which cut grower incomes and hurt the regional economy.

The group is calling for change and backing a group of council candidates who sympathise with its view. Some members had provided financial backing to their preferred candidates, who were Rick Barker, Peter Beaven, Rex Graham, Tom Belford and Ngahiwi Tomoana.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

How many coffees do you have a day?

5 or even more

3-4

2

1

Anything from 1-5.

Don't touch the stuff.

Vote Result

Related story: Coffee as we know it at risk of dying

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content