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The Hawke's Bay Regional Council has decided to ditch their support for the Ruataniwha Dam project.
Councillors voted to pull support and contribute no further funds to the controversial water storage scheme at a council meeting this morning.
The scheme to dam a large area of the Ruataniwha basin to provide farmers with water for an extensive irrigation scheme has been debated for over five years.
It encountered one of its biggest challenges last month after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Forest & Bird over a land swap agreement between the Department of Conservation and the council, which would have allowed formerly protected conservation land to be flooded.
Regional Council CEO James Palmer says they need to focus their efforts now on other priorities and will write off an estimated $14 million already spent on planning and resource consents.
Presently another $66 million has been set aside for the scheme by the council and Palmer says that money would no longer be "ringfenced".
Palmer says, subject to council approval, the council's investment arm, HBRIC Ltd, who has been managing the scheme, could proceed with the project if other investment can be found.
The council also moved to allow HBRIC Ltd to sell any assets and the intellectual property of the scheme.
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