I must apoligise to my regular readers, Been 7 weeks since my last post, and I will say 7 very busy weeks.
Back to the present. I have the resource consent application for the Defence Force sewage upgrade at Waiouru this coming week. I do not know how it got to a hearing as thoes most affected stated clearly on the day of the first meeting of affected parties that Ecoli was the nutient of concern and something had to be done. I would have thought that that’s where it would have ended there and the defence force would have gone off and done their thing.
But not to be. I have challenged via letter to the chair of the panel hearing the scheme, the ability of a council (Horizons) appointed commissioner to the hearings, Jill White. Ms White was deputy Chair of One Plan Hearings, and of course sat on the Water Quality Hearings setting the standards. Whilist it is not agiants the Members Interest Act 1968 for her to do so it never the less is a very bad call and compromises the integrety of the hearings. She should not be there. It is very bad practice , one which Council should and would recognise thus the only conclusion is that she is there to push the One Plan Standard. Only good thing that is recognised is that the Water quality is naturaly poor, being rich in nutrients off the mountain and leaching from the Waiouru refuse dump up stream.
Some real interesting accusations have been made by the Defence Force contractor responsible for the scheme, pointing the finger at farming in the catchment.
On Thursday the 12th May Brian Fallow made a comment in the NZ Herald, pg B2. The problem is not that NZ is short of water but one of, that it is running out of NZ.
He of course was reffering to the release of the Nationals Water Policy Package released that week. This goes hand in hand with the National Policy Statement on Fresh water and he comments on the conflict between the two. How can we intensify land use via irrigation and mitigate environmental degradation. Already being privy to this prior I find it abit of a joke. Here we have Govt proposing to spend up to $400 mill as a cornerstone investor in irrigation schemes to irrigate a additional 340,000 hec on east coast of both Islands. The Institute of Economic Research has identified that such schemes
could boast exports by $1.4 billion by 2018 and $4 billion by 2026. Isn,t that great. NZ needs every $ we can muster. Right. One must question the financial benefits as dryland farming esp sheep is pretty good finacially, and alot of these areas are already high producing and would benefit from irrigation but just how much additional production?. As I said I have been privy to this prior and it seems Govt wants to intensify the East Coast of both Islands. Both Is are prone to drought, and the observation I made is that you can get stock through drought and the following winter with supplementry feed incl irrigation but it is the Spring that is the killer. Also remember minimum flows will be a crucial aspect of these schemes.
We have the Minister for the Enviroment commenting in Sept 2010 in the Straight Furrow, 900,000 hec central Nth Is hill country unsuitable for farming. To save our valuable soils we need to stop farming this country. Plant it in Pines. Let it regenerate back to bush.
Prior to this, in August 2010, we had Denis Hocking comment in the farming mag, Country Wide. Planting the Seeds of a Solution? He is commenting on planting appropriate, low productivity, unstable land. Quote
But the numbers are interesting. One Million hec of average productivity forest could, note “could” sequester around 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. 30 million tonnes just so happens to approximate our total annual agricultural emissions.
There is 900,000 hec of highly erodable identified in the very contentous Horizons One Plan. The Policy Staement states. Land Use Change Carbon Sinks. My comment is Just what the hell is going on here. Who is driving the One Plan? I have made up my mind. No democracy here guys, Who are we to vote for at the end of the yr.
Of course those of us following the carbon market realise that it is not only currency exchange rate driven, but that longer term the price will fall in real terms as emitters become more efficient in energy use, adopting cleaner technologies. Where is the $25-30 or even 50 returns per tonne promoted in past yrs, and of which I have commented on in past blogs?
As of Fiday 17th June Carbon report I subscribe to. Carbon Market weakens Spot NZ market $19.50. Spot CER,s $21.50. NZ$. NZ market weakens in line with Global carbon Market.
My view with regard to the above is that with all the National Govt,s postering against bringing Agriculture into the ETS in 2015, they almost certainly are. Who are disaffected voters to vote for. Well certainly not Labour.I hope you noted labours press release 23/May . Labour pledges $800 million for R&D and the farmers are going to pay for it. God what is all this going to cost the consumer.
I hope you are getting the Idea, esp as 2 weeks ago the same correspondent Brian Fallow was commenting on the Govts forestry incentive schemes, designed to see Unproductive Farmed Land Central Nth Is planted in trees permenatly.
These guys are not doing the home work and not determining just what happens to soil under trees, and what it means for our lowland flood protection schemes. Not the benefits being claimed and my view is completly the opposite.
The Point is, this is nonsence, and we are intensifying the east coast, not to increase NZ,s wealth, but to replace lost income from 1 million hec, s of very good farmed land generating in excess of $400 million of direct export income, which is keeping people in Rural NZ, working , spending and all the positive things that brings to NZ,s Health Social and Cultural needs, away from the negatives of expanding cities and all the enviromental and social expense that brings. One must question the Institute of Economic Research figures. $4 billion from 340,000 hec by 2028. 2.1 dairy cows per hec producing 300 kg milk solids each at $8 equals approx $1.7 billion. I mean to say what is it producing now? Nothing?
Is all this about something else completely different. Who is to own these forests , who will eventually end up owning the credits. When you understand the One Plan and the intent of Kyoto, redistribution of wealth, you come to another answer. Think carefully.
During May we held the Annual Plan Hearing s and as per usual the Animal Health Board got a real rough time and from one councillor in particular, who should know better. I complained at the time of inappropriate questioning, and got told quite publically by the Chair please desist or out you go.
The Green Rig . Looks like its gone. During the Hearings plenty of school kids submitted as to the content, but with Council spending a considerable amount retheming it last year, not one child could describe the theme. That is Sustainable Communities. Which leads me to say, the presenters are still up to their old tricks at the CEO,s behest one would assume. And who,s fuel card has been funding it,s operation.? This has been quite a relevation. More to come on this.
The take off in funding requests to regional Council for funding for Health Shuttles is causing concern . Is this not a Health Board Function?.
I and the Rates Freeze Team have been pushing the anti Rate Increase theme. We felt we have raised awareness as to the need but sadly the average increase will be in my view closer to 7% which is completely unacceptable. Of course one must remmeber that there is additional 2.5% increase in GST built into this.
I will say this round of the Ann Plan has opened up some interesting doors and opportunities. 900 submitters to the hearings, 640 odd to the AHB funding alone.
I have raised the ire of the District Council (Ruapehu) with the Deputy Mayor demanding I be escorted out of the Meeting last Tuesday. Why? Because I stepped out side of my role as a Regional Councillor? and was trying to influence/ tell the council what they should be doing. Why The Community Well Beings are horribly written .Are a complete and utter disgrace to our community and will destroy our Regional Economy. This is no different to the conclusion reached by Paula Bennets initative doing the rounds of the regions, titled the Community Responce Forum. This Forum identified the Community Well Beings, Enviromental,Cultural, Health and Wealth , written in that order as being a big Negative for our regional economy. They need to rewritten putting Economic Health etc in that order. Planners and regulatory staff have to have regard effect to the order of the Well Beings.
It appears that staff have managed to pull the wool over councillors eye,s and I was in there quoting sec 91 of the Local Govt Act. And where is the cost of verse the benefit study that is to be carried out to see how effective the Well Beings have been over the last 6 years. I will stick to my assertion . It is not Horizons that is going to destroy our District, but The Ruapehu District Council. Our Councillors just are not up to it.
Recently we had David Hammond Ruapehu District Council CEO explaining away a bad mark for poor performance in the Local Press. Our population is falling and with regard to the previous subjects of this colume the District Council has the legislative power via the LGA 2002 and the RMA1991 and the community mandate to turn this around. But the political will with in senior Councillors and some staff is not there Why?