Long-time Nelson MP Nick Smith, of National, said the dam was the “only practical prospect of improving minimum flows and water quality in the [Waimea] river without a devastating cut in the horticultural industry on which Nelson depends”.
His Labour Party rival in Nelson, Rachel Boyack, said the project stacked up economically and environmentally, and Labour in government would honour any existing Crown commitment to the scheme.
Good to see Labour not automatically opposing something.
Smith said he was disappointed but not surprised by the Green Party’s opposition.
“The Greens’ criticism is ill-informed, shows they haven’t done any homework on the specifics of the proposal and have just reverted to their anti-agriculture, anti-infrastructure rhetoric,” Smith said. “The claim by Mr Lawrey that the dam will increase nitrates in the catchment is just plain wrong. He seems ignorant of the fact that irrigated apples produce fewer nitrates than the existing dryland farming. He also overlooks that the dam will enable substantial increases in minimum flows and the potential for fresh flows in summer to eliminate the algae that currently causes problems.”
Inconvienent facts. The reality is that the Greens oppose pretty much all dams anywhere. Which is ironic as dams are why we have so much renewable energy.
Smith hit back at suggestions by Lawrey of alternative measures to the dam, including on-farm storage, urban rainwater collection systems and grey water recycling.
“The alternative suggestions of household grey water storage tanks show how disconnected the Greens are from the practical costs,” Smith said. “Grey water storage tanks cost $250 per cubic metre as compared to the cost of the Waimea Community Dam of $5 per cubic metre.”
That’s only 5000% more cost.