Key part of dam plan a footnote: Fish & Game

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013

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Hawke's Bay

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Fish & Game has urged the board of inquiry hearing the Ruataniwha dam proposal to decline the resource consent applications, and claims one of the most important aspects of the scheme was relegated to a footnote.

The organisation made opening submissions on Thursday, with its experts continuing to give evidence yesterday.

Lawyer Sue Simons said the organisation was not opposed to dams, agriculture or horticulture, but the proposed irrigation scheme and dam, and the associated plan change by Hawke's Bay Regional Council, were destined to result in unsustainable management of the Tukituki River catchment.

She repeated other submitters' concerns about a lack of evidence that managing just one nutrient, phosphorus, but not nitrogen too, would result in deteriorating water quality, and said the length of time it would take for nitrogen's effects to be noticed meant proposed consent conditions "will be ineffective".

Fish & Game was also concerned about the suggested actions should a problem arise.

These were covered in the footnote to a policy, which mentioned a yet-to-be-developed "procedural guideline" that would include unidentified "progressively more stringent on-farm management practices" to tackle excess nitrogen and whether resource consents could reverse the situation.

"It appears that this matter is of such importance to the regional council that it has only managed to find its way into a footnote," Ms Simons said.

The six-week hearing, which began in Hastings last month, continues in Waipawa next week, before breaking over Christmas.

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