3 Feb 2016

Crowdfunding campaign to uncover dam data

11:35 am on 3 February 2016

A Central Hawke's Bay ratepayer has started a Pledge Me campaign to pay for an official information request he hopes will shed light on a secret decision by the local council to buy water from the Ruataniwha Dam.

The proposed Ruataniwha Dam would be built on this site in Hawke's Bay.

The proposed Ruataniwha Dam would be built on this site in Hawke's Bay. Photo: RNZ / Peter Fowler

Late last year the Central Hawke's Bay District Council agreed in a secret meeting to buy 1.5 million cubic metres of water from the dam, which would add at least $49 to the rates everyone pays in the region.

Ratepayer Clint Deckard said the region got its water virtually for free and wanted to know why the council now thought it was critical to buy water from the dam.

"If taking water from the scheme was so important, why didn't the council take water right back at the very beginning? Why did they wait until it was clear the scheme was having great troubles trying to get up usage that they suddenly decide that they've got to take water?

"The excuses that they're giving I think are made up and I'd like to know the real reason and I suspect the real reason that this is a subsidy. The central Hawke's Bay rate payers are going to subsidise the dam.

There's no information as to whether the cost of the water increase over time, there's just a lack of information from the council."

Mr Deckard said the Pledge Me campaign aimed to raise $3,500, which was the amount the council was demanding to action his Official Information Request.