Open, frank meeting with farmers, says regional council chairman

By Nicki Harper

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TIGHT LIPPED: None of the attendees of a meeting held between CHB farmers and the HB Regional Council to discuss the Ruataniwha dam are keen to divulge many of the details at this stage.
TIGHT LIPPED: None of the attendees of a meeting held between CHB farmers and the HB Regional Council to discuss the Ruataniwha dam are keen to divulge many of the details at this stage.

On Wednesday this week, Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham met a group of Central Hawke's Bay farmers and local politicians to discuss the Ruataniwha dam.

The meeting arose after a number of farmers raised concerns about the future of the scheme under the newly elected regional council, of which the majority of councillors elected have doubts about the viability of this particular water storage project.

Mr Graham, who attended along with three other regional councillors, said in a statement that the meeting took place at the home of one of the farmers, and "was an excellent, open and frank exchange of views".

Ongaonga farmer Duncan Holden, who is a current irrigator and has signed up to take more water, was at the meeting but said he had been advised not to comment to the media about it.

CHB mayor Alex Walker also attended.

She said it was a private meeting, which she attended to support the farmers as part of the community and to get the message across, and that was all she had to say.

"I was there to give the farmers moral support to engage with the regional councillors and be seen to support them to get their views across.

"We all have to move forward together."

In September, the Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company and the Department of Conservation sought leave to appeal the Court of Appeal's direction that the Director-General reconsider his decision on the land exchange for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

Yesterday, Supreme Court registry officer Jessica Oosthuizen said the applicants' decisions had been received.

The respondents now have an opportunity to respond, and their submissions are due later this month.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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