Hello once again people. Horrid day, so decided to spend time on the machine. It is school holidays so the rellies start turning up .Last 2 days had a crew from down country here. The boys are mad keen on deer stalking. There is quite a few fallow around now and usually I do not have to go far for a bit of venison. Over the last week or so I have seen 4 hinds, 4 mature stags and 2 spikers. I had a shot at one of the spikers but alas my gun is shooting to the left and true to form for the team, not a deer in sight.
Well we still have the Nats in power and full power this time round. Top priority is the RMA reforms (Resource Management Act) and this is way overdue. Although I feel some what needless, if only way ward planners and lawyers would interpret the Act as it is written, ie in the common language, there would be no need for these continual amendments. Take the sec 32 requirements. Pretty straight forward. Councils have to undertake a meaningful cost verse benefit analysis. Right. Right. But some planners and lawyers are subjectively interpreting the act to say that that is not the case and either knocking up a couple of charts or something else quite meaningless and saying that that is all that is required as per the act and getting away with it. I read in the NZ Herald on Sept the 11th page D10 and D23, that 36 % of CEO’s are most likely to be kept awake at night worrying about regulation, it’s effect on business confidence. The constant changing of regulatory requirements without any analysis of the impact is damaging to revenue and wasteful of productive business focus. Amen to that. Another 3rd of CEO’s want it scrapped altogether seeing it as a growth inhibitor. I would not go that far as to say we should have nothing and go for it boys, but to my mind dump it. The Local Govt Act 2002 (LGA) is all we need. Include sec’s 30 and 31 of the RMA in the LGA and Bobs your uncle. There can be no argument. Sec 12 LGA sees to that. The only way Regional Councils and the judicial process has been able to get away with subjective interpretations of the RMA is because they are deliberately ignoring the requirements of the LGA.
Whilst on this subject of wasteful regulation, one has only to look at the Kaipara District Councils sewage plant up grade. In excess of $70 million, and one could say bankrupted the community. All to satisfy the water quality standard imposed and thus enforced by regulation. One has to ask what is wrong with the office of the Auditor General. The councils financial statements were subjected to 5 yrs of Audit Officers appraisals and nothing was said. When the crap hit the fan, Govt introduced retrospective legislation to protect the Councillors of the time.(see scoop news 9/9/2014. Sorry state of Mangawhai Sewage)
But then the Auditor Generals Office has a bit of history protecting wayward Councillors, just take Horizons Regional Councils council working party formed by council to oversee the environment court process with regards to chapter 5 of the One Plan. This working party immediately formed itself into a de facto hearing panel, heard new evidence supplied by Council staff, acting as independent experts, and varied the plan without Council knowledge. When I and my man John collated and recorded the paper trail to this sorry abuse of law and referred it to the Auditor Generals Office, they alas did not want to know. Those of you who are regular readers will recall me commenting on this at the time. Who is the Minister in charge of the Office? Mr Finlayson. Also in charge of the Office of Treaty Settlements. Do you think there is a link here?
Minister McKelvie, MP for Rangitiki thinks that the National Govt is much more on to it as a consequence of information I and John have provided various ministers , thanking me in person and quite unprovoked. I wonder if Minister Finlayson is still on the front benches. I have not taken any notice of which ministers are where, if indeed cabinet positions have been allocated yet. But never the less Minister McKelvie thinks John and I have been very influential in informing Parliament of, in his words “what is going on.” Nice to get a pat on the back.
I see that National announced another policy they wish to implement, pledging $100 million over 10 yrs to buy stream banks from farmers to keep dairy stock out. Crikey. that is a huge call given that there is over 400,000 km of rivers and streams and 4000 lakes. My view is that it is a bit over the top, given that it would go nowhere near covering the survey costs yet alone buying the land.
Again my view is that yes buying land for water quality out comes? But not what we think. Stream banks. No, unless it is part of an identified property. But lets face it. As a consequence of the Treaty Settlement Process. Maoridom aspire for specific properties in private ownership to be returned. It was my view that this is what Horizons Region Councils One Plan was developed to achieve. Nothing to do with with water and soil outcomes, but political outcomes. The science is just so dodgy and Doug Edmeades writes of dodgy science in the NZ Farmer Sept 23 2014 pg 7. More on this later. The return of these lands by regulatory means. Overly restrictive rules and regulation adding cost and destroying wealth. My evidence is the District Plan for public consultation for Ruapehu District Council June 2010. The Protected Areas Zone. This includes the Conservation Act sec 4, ” The Principals of The Treaty of Waitangi.” Whilst the Conservation Act sec 4 wording has changed or been toned down some what since. It at the time, specified Part 8 of the RMA. Designations and Heritage Orders sec 166 on wards. Whilst you may say District Plan. The Minister of Conservation oversees those sections of the Act and would have imposed the Regional Councils Plans and regulation, including the use of the Nutrient Budgeting tool “Overseer “. To sell, farmers only recourse is the Public Works Act.
Why Regulation? My view. The fiscal cap has been breached, and the settlement process has become unaffordable. The claimants want specific properties but will take all they can get, and overly restrictive rules and regulation would certainly help that outcome. So I expect that this is really where the money will go. Am I right or am I wrong? Only time will tell, but Minister McKelvie has given me hope.
Doug Edmeades article I refer to above on pg 7 NZ Farmer is right on the money. Doug quotes Richard Horton, editor of the prestigious science publication “The Lancet”. Mr Horton recently coined the term “McScience”. Science is no longer a search for the truth but a commodity to be bought and sold. Crudely, science is now about chasing the mighty dollar and its guardians, political or commercial patronage. This of course undermines and compromises the values and purpose of science. A lot more good stuff in this article. A must read.
Overseer. Lets get real about this tool. I read in the NZ Farmers Weekly Sept 15 2014 pg 33. Letters to the editor. A real good letter by a Mr Luddington. Titled serious flaws. It is on the money in my book. Overseer is a tool whose only purpose is to cut agricultural production. No doubt about it. Soils capable of sustaining seriously intensive agricultural production of livestock are the worst, eg pumic and the sand country of the west coast spring to mind, and soils that pug so badly as to be unusable are supposedly the best to use.
Winter brassica crops are again no good even though overseer is supposed to be calculated over the whole property not just a given area.
Mr Luddinton points out that the tool is seriously flawed in that there is no consideration of restorative crops, in particular legumes, rather penalization. There is no consideration of the pollution of the air via nitrous oxide, no consideration of the diversity of small seed crops. He quite rightly points out that the scheme is onerous. It is complicated and weighs heavily on penalty rather than reward. .
On the same page titled,” Get real about the State of the Economy.” The Treasury predicts net debt for NZ to increase every year till 2018 when it will be close to $70 billion. I rest my case. Doug where to from here.
It is my view that most Ministers in parliament just do not know what is going on. Certainly some do and when found out quit, or get moved to the back benches and are quietly asked to step aside, or they just make life difficult at the most inappropriate moment. Some weasel away out of sight striving to achieve the outcomes they desire. Now it seems that according to Minister McKelvie, Parliament is awake. Here’s hoping .
I had a comment on my blog site asking for more detail to be written into each topic. There is just too much to write about. I give where possible source of my subject all of which can be read on line. I could easily spend all day and 10,000 words but I have a farm to run to. Thanks for the feed back, and I note that there is not so much Viagra in the comments now!!
Well bye for now.