Waimea Irrigators Ltd (WIL) have announced a new funding model for their share of the dam. The institutional investor that rode in on a white horse the day after the Council voted the Waimea Dam funding and governance model down has been side-lined.
The story as relayed by John Palmer, chief negotiator for WIL, is that the institutional investor, whom we know not the identity of, wanted to de-risk his investment by shifting the risk of his shares onto the irrigators. The same irrigators who have shifted large portions of their risk onto the general rate-payer and urban water user. When the irrigators saw that risk was being shifted to them in similar fashion they started to squeal like a stuck pig and said it wasn’t fair.
Instead of this unfair arrangement they said they would like to fund the extra shares themselves, so John Palmer passed the hat around, and within a few days they had come up with an extra $11 million dollars from 13 irrigators (and possibly one non-irrigating shareholder).
These are the same irrigators, who when we were talking about an $83 million-dollar dam said they were “at their limit” of payment and wanted Council (the urban water ratepayer) to buy more shares then the amount of shares we already had signed up for to more than satisfy our 100-year demand.
These are the same irrigators who were “at their limit” on the $83 million-dollar dam and could not possibly be tied to any dam overrun expenses, thus shifting 100% of dam overrun risk on to the general ratepayer and urban water user.
These are the same irrigators who were “at their limit” when the environmental flow components of the dam were being divvied out [these figures are a fabrication designed to shift cost from irrigators that should fall on the users for using the river as a conduit to run their water from the dam to their pumps like with all the plan B options]. The end result being that the general rate-payer had to pick up these costs (now a total of 52% of running costs) because “we all have to get there together or we don’t get there at all.”
These are the same irrigators who were “at their limit” on an $83 million-dollar project who managed to find “their share” of the increase in the dam budget when the project became a $102 million-dollar project – within a matter of days.
And now we see that within a matter of days 13 irrigators (plus possibly one other) are able to put their hand in their pocket to find another $11 million dollars. This would be in line with the comments by WIL chairman Murray King who said if the dam doesn’t go ahead they would spend more than four times their dam contribution to put in their own water supplies.
The 13 reasons why this dam is being built have been revealed, and they will, once the dam is built, control the water on the Waimea Plains as they have a monopoly on water right allocations. They will set the price of any water shares sold and they will determine if the applicant is a worthy recipient of said shares.
In order to protect their investment, WIL have written into Terms Sheet with Council that if a future Council for any reasons decides that the allocation between dam affiliated water user and non-dam affiliated water user is unreasonable, that a minimum $50 million-dollar payment will be made by the rate-payer to WIL as compensation. John Palmer was pushing that this $50 million-dollar be an uncapped compensation amount, and open for negotiation at a later date. This despite the fact that the general rate-payer and urban water user will be subsidising irrigators on the Waimea Plains for at least the next 100 years anyway.
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