20 Jun 2014

Rally held to push for Ruataniwha Dam

10:03 pm on 20 June 2014

The organiser of a rally supporting the proposed Ruataniwha Dam in Hawke's Bay says he is confident farmers will sign up to the scheme.

The regional council votes next week on whether to invest in the controversial project.

The rally in Waipukurau on Friday was timed to show support for dam before next week's release of the board of inquiry's final report on the proposal.

Local electrician Gavin Streeter said he was blown away to see about 500 farm vehicles, including tractors and trucks, show up for the rally followed by speeches in Post Office Square.

Mr Streeter said farmers are passionate about the dam and thinks many will now sign up to invest. He believed the dam would be a game-changer for the region.

Hawke's Bay farmer Richard Dakins said he has yet to sign up, but will do so once his due diligence comes through. He believes it is vital that other farmers do the same.

Mr Dakins said Hawke's Bay is struggling and the dam will bolster the region's economic growth.

"I understand we're about the second or the worst performing region due to the successive droughts we've had earlier on, and we really need this to kick off and get our economy going."

The proposed Ruataniwha dam site.

The proposed Ruataniwha dam site. Photo: SUPPLIED