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Hayes douses rumour mill

By Geoff Vause
[email protected]

South Wairarapa mayoral contender John Hayes has scotched rumours he has a conflict of interest in the controversial floodplain management for South Wairarapa.

Mr Hayes claims his political opponents have been attempting to discredit him by suggesting his land interests stand to benefit from his position on the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Waiohine River Floodplain Management Plan.

He said he had been open with anyone who cared to ask about his property interests at Greytown.

“I will not be undertaking any development of the land I own now or ever, except to cut a curtilage off around my present house of about 3300 sq m, and that process has been underway for about a year, maybe longer,” Mr Hayes said.

“The balance of the site is under a sale and purchase contract and with luck will very soon not be owned by me.

“What a new owner does with the site is not my business in any way.”

Mr Hayes said he would then have his house and section and the impact on that house and site was no different to any other ratepayer living in the town.

He said other candidates involved with flood plain planning could be asked the same question.

“Regarding the draft management plan, I’m not engaged on my own,” Mr Hayes said.

“We have a group of twenty-four townspeople. I’m pretty proud we’ve consulted with the town at a community meeting and established the community neither wants nor can afford the GWRC scheme.”

He said GRWC chairperson Chris Laidlaw had attended meetings intending to defend his council’s plans, but had left with a better understanding of the matter.

“We have also engaged with the Masterton mayor and Carterton councillors and have an understanding that after the election that we will all work together,” Mr Hayes said.

“Masterton encountered the exact same issues as Greytown on the Waipoua River.

“The Masterton and Carterton councils stood up for their communities, unlike the South Wairarapa council who require flood warnings registered on property titles when a resource consent is sought, even though we have established that the GWRC computer model is throwing up wrong results.”

Mr Hayes said South Wairarapa would have been better served by the council making a submission to the GWRC hearing process to voice concern.

“Ratepayers can’t afford a $10 million project full of errors.”

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