Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and cabinet colleagues are pictured on the Waimea Dam’s culvert during a recent visit. Standing 50 vertical metres below the top of the dam, this spot will be almost as deep under water as the deepest part of the Hauraki Gulf within two years.

Fulton Hogan’s General Manager Construction Justin McDowell says the visitors wanted to better understand New Zealand’s dam building ability.

“The ministers recently approved $30 million for a business case into the multibillion dollar proposal to build a storage lake – Lake Onslow – above Roxburgh for pumped hydro storage. They seemed to be suitably impressed with what they saw here.”

The Lake Onslow project was mooted by Waikato University’s Engineering Professor Earl Bardsley in 2005. The business case for Lake Onslow reflects the Government’s push for 100% renewable electricity, and is supported by the Interim Climate Change Committee.

Waimea Dam Project Director Jim Galloway says the group spent two hours at the Waimea Dam site. He says the project’s scale seemed to be the most surprising thing.

“Photographs don’t really do it justice – from a panoramic point of view it’s quite impressive when you see it come into view after travelling 25 km from the nearest town and 6km up a specially-built track.”

Pictured from left; Jim Galloway (Fulton Hogan), Damian O’Connor (Government Minister), Richard Greatrex (Waimea Water), Stuart Nash (Government Minister), David Wright (Waimea Water Chairman), Dean Quickenden (Fulton Hogan), Daniel Murtagh (Waimea Water), Rachel Boyack (Nelson MP), Richard Kirby (Tasman District Council), Grant Robertson (Deputy Prime Minister), Mike Scott (CEO, Waimea Water), Tim King (Tasman Mayor), Matt Loach (Fulton Hogan), Jamie Strange (Labour MP), Charlie Taylor (Taylors Contracting) and Harvey Ruru (New Zealand Maori Council).