Nelson City Council Minutes - 7 December 2017


Minutes of a meeting of the Nelson City Council

Held in the Council Chamber, Civic House, 110 Trafalgar Street, Nelson

On Thursday 7 December 2017, commencing at 9am


Present:              Her Worship the Mayor R Reese (Chairperson), Councillors L Acland, I Barker, M Courtney, B Dahlberg, M Lawrey, P Matheson, B McGurk, G Noonan, M Rutledge, T Skinner and S Walker

In Attendance:    Senior Strategic Adviser (N McDonald), Group Manager Corporate Services (N Harrison), Executive Officer (M Joubert) and Governance Advisers (P White and R Terry)

Apology:             Councillor K Fulton


Opening Prayer

Councillor Noonan gave the opening prayer.

1.    Apologies

Resolved CL/2017/597

That the Council

Receives and accepts an apology from Councillor Fulton, and from Councillor Skinner for lateness.

Courtney/McGurk                                                                        Carried


2     Confirmation of Order of Business


There was no change to the order of business.  The Mayor noted that one final late submission had been received and that this was tabled (A1878911).



1    A1878911 Late submission Gaire Thompson


3.    Interests

There were no updates to the Interests Register, and no interests with items on the agenda were declared.

4.    Resolution to Receive Late Submissions

Document number R8787, agenda pages 193 - 279 refer.

Resolved CL/2017/598

That the Council

Receives the report Hearing of Submissions to Waimea Community Dam Proposal - Late Submissions (R8787) and its attachment (A1875379); and

Accepts the late submissions to the Waimea Community Dam Proposal (Attachment A1875379).

Barker/Walker                                                                             Carried


4a.  Resolution to Receive Further Late Submissions

Document number R8803, late items agenda pages 2 - 17 refer.

Resolved CL/2017/599

That the Council

Receives the report Further Late Submissions - Waimea Community Dam Proposal (R8803) and its attachment (A1878064); and

Accepts the further late submissions attached to the report (A1878064).

Barker/Walker                                                                             Carried

5.    Hearing of Submissions to Waimea Community Dam Proposal

Document number R8773, agenda pages 4 - 192 refer.


5.1      Mr Dan McGuire (submission 14816)

Mr McGuire confirmed that he was speaking as an individual, not on behalf of the Nelson Residents Association or Nelson Greypower.  Mr McGuire spoke against using rates/ratepayers’ money for the Dam proposal.

5.2          Mr Stephen Sutton (submission 14824)


Mr Sutton spoke in support of the Dam funding proposal and his speaking notes were tabled (A1879423).  He spoke about step rationing and noted that under a ‘no-Dam’ scenario, rationing would be increased to 50%.



1    A1879423 Tabled Information - Submission 14824 - Stephen Sutton

5.3      Mr Peter Sutton (submission 14827) U3A Nelson, Amnesty International NZ

Mr Sutton said that he was not concerned with Council providing a grant to the Dam, he was concerned about the way in which the decision was made to put out the proposal and the use of Council workshops.  He was concerned that the Council had not heard sufficiently from opponents of the Dam.

5.4      Mr Robert Schmuke (submission 14830)

Mr Schmuke did not support the $5million proposed grant from Council.  He spoke about the additional infrastructure required to pipe water to urban areas and to urban developments, the debt that would be incurred for the Dam, and the potential for project cost overruns.  He responded to questions about whether or not the Dam was going to significantly replenish the aquifers.

5.5      Mr Lewis Tinson (submission 14833)

Mr Tinson spoke against the proposal.  He directed Councillors to Mr Vince Bidwell’s peer review of the Tonkin & Taylor Phase 2 report, in which he said Mr Bidwell doubted whether a change to the volume going down the river would influence the levels in the aquifer.  He also referred the meeting to the Cameron Gibson Wells report of 2013, which discussed leaks in the Nelson water system – he said that the need for water production could reduce significantly if the leaks were fixed.

5.6      Mr Malcolm Saunders (submission 14836)

Mr Saunders spoke in favour of the proposal and said that the water was needed for horticultural production on the Waimea Plains which was bringing in export dollars for the area.  He spoke in favour of a water care services joint council controlled organisation between the councils to manage the water supply for the district. 

5.7      Mr Richard Sullivan (submission 14838)

Mr Sullivan was not in favour of Council’s proposal to fund the Dam.  He felt that the risk, and therefore the cost, of water certainty should sit with the businesses who would benefit.


5.8      Mary Ellen O’Connor, accompanied Mr Brian Halstead (submission 14843)

Ms O’Connor said both she and Mr Halstead were members of Waimea Irrigators and Water Users, but she was speaking as an individual.  Ms O’Connor was not in support of the proposal to fund the Dam.  She felt that the Dam proposal was a relic of the Think Big era, that there was heavy financial risks and historically cost over-runs of these types of projects.  She spoke about the seismic risks and felt there was potential to increase nitrate run-off into waterways.

She felt that horticulture business owners needed to take the risk and put in their own water retention facilities, and also look at alternative ways of operating, including less monoculture, less intensive land use and mulching, for example.

5.9      Mr Steve Cross (submission 14846)

Mr Cross was not in support of the proposal.  He was unhappy about the process undertaken for developing the funding proposal.  He felt there had been limited public access to meetings and lack of quality analysis.  He was concerned about loading the cost onto debt, and the effect on future generations. He talked about his concern about cyanobacteria in the Maitai river currently, and quoted a Cawthron report that stated that increased flows in the Waimea River would not reduce the risk of this cyanobacteria occurring in the Waimea River post-Dam.

Attendance:  Councillor Noonan left the meeting at 10.28am and returned at 10.47am.

5.10        Mr Trevor Riley (submission 14842)


Mr Riley was concerned about the quality of the maps used for planning for the Waimea Dam.  He tabled his speaking notes and additional maps (A1879385).




1 A1879385 Tabled Information - Submission 14842 - Trevor Riley


5.11    Mrs Jackie McNae (submission 14860)

Mrs McNae said she was speaking as an individual and was a planning and resource management consultant.  She supported the contribution from Council to the Waimea Dam proposal.  She felt this was a long-term solution and would add resilience for the region for future generations.  However she did not support this as a grant but wanted to see Council as a shareholder to the project to protect Nelson’s interests, noting that while this would bring cost and liabilities it would also provide opportunities.


5.12         Mrs Lesley Dawson (submission 14863)


Mrs Dawson did not support the proposal for Council to contribute to the Dam.  She expressed concern that Nelson was already an unaffordable place for ratepayers and families, and that the Dam would add to the lack of affordability.  To get the water from the Waimea Dam to Nelson city she said tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure would be required.  She felt that funding would effectively be a subsidy for businesses.  She tabled two documents (A1879395).



1    A1879395 Tabled Documents - Submission 14863 - Lesley Dawson

Attendance: Councillor Rutledge left the meeting at 10.55am and returned at 10.59am.

The meeting was adjourned for morning tea at 11.04am and reconvened at 11.12am.


5.13         Mr Graeme OBrien (submission 14852)


Mr OBrien was not for or against the proposal, rather that he felt he had not been given the opportunity to hear genuine debate and information to have an opinion.  He tabled his speaking notes (A1879361).



1    A1879361 - Tabled Documents - Submission 14852 - Graeme OBrien

5.14    Mr John Palmer for Mr Murray King (submission 14855) Waimea Irrigators Ltd

Mr Palmer spoke in support of the project and the proposed funding from NCC.  Mr Palmer said that he, and Waimea Irrigators, believed that water and water management should be treated as a regional issue. He said that the opportunity for decades in the future was balanced against the risk of Nelson’s investment today, and that the Crown funding, critical to the project, was unlikely to be available again in the future.  He responded to questions about river health, proposed combined water companies/authorities and for clarification of the intent of the wording in the submission.

Attendance: Councillor Matheson left the meeting at 11.22am and returned at 11.25am.

5.15      Dr Mike Johnston (submission 14861)


Dr Johnston tabled a further paper supporting his submission (A1876303).  He spoke in support of the Dam and the city’s involvement in funding.  He detailed his past history in water management and experience with the Waimea Plain aquifers.  He said that there was no more capacity in the aquifers.  In terms of the site stability (seismic risk), he believed the Dam (rock-filled) had been designed to take the known seismic risk into account.

Dr Johnston spoke about his past role as Nelson Catchment & Regional Water Board’s Chairperson and the effect that prior gravel extraction had had on the water table.  In response to a question, he said he was aware of the high nitrate levels in parts of the Waimea Plains , however he believed horticulture shouldn’t increase or contribute to those nitrate levels.

Dr Johnston answered questions about whether the flow from the river would replenish the aquifers, the risk of gravel filling the Dam, and salt water intrusion into the aquifers.



1     A1876303 - Tabled Document - Submission 14861 - Dr Mike Johnston

           Attendance: Councillor Skinner joined the meeting at 11.40am.



5.16      Mr Ian Wishart (submission 14862)



Mr Wishart supported the proposal for Council to contribute to the Waimea Dam, however by way of purchasing shares in the Dam.  He suggested that Council needed to increase its public information about the Dam and rationale for supporting it.

Mr Wishart’s notes were tabled (A1879399).




1   A1879399 - Tabled Information - Submission 14862 - Ian Wishart


Attendance: Councillor McGurk left the meeting at 12.03pm.

Further information was requested from officers for the deliberation reports:

·         Environmental impacts both on the River health and wider environment (Tasman Bay) of the Dam; including the issue of nitrates.

·         Costs of getting Nelson water to Nelson South and Richmond residential users.

·         The cost of getting water from the aquifer to the boundary with the Nelson district.

·         Effect on rates of the $5m proposed contribution and the timing of that impact, plus any further associated costs of that contribution.

·         Specific economic benefits or disbenefits to Nelson only.

·         Nature of the contribution (capital or operational cost) given no asset is being acquired by Nelson.

·         Information from the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB) Medical Officer of Health on the health impact of increased levels of nitrates in ground water.

·         National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) projections in regard to climate change.

·         A legal assessment on whether it was possible to give a grant with conditions, for example, could Council have input into the Board composition and decisions about water allocation. 

·         The current position of the large industrial water users in the Wakatu Estate in regard to their future water supply.

·         The advantages and disadvantages of contributing by way of a grant or a shareholding.


There being no further business the meeting ended at 12.12pm.