It may have been a quiet month, but there are significant items to report on. The first will be item 7 in the Policy and Strategy meeting held on the 14th of August. Implementation of the One Plan.
This can be found on page 19. Financial Impacts. These will be dealt with as part of future annual planning processes. Don’t hold your breath. Heres hoping that the reforms of the Local Govt Act are carried through.
The operative plan will establish key environmental issues for the region. Objectives to resolve the issues. Policy approaches being pursued to resolve the issues. And Methods both regulatory and non regulatory to resolve the issues.
Great. Whilst the judge declared that methods can be regulatory, (PRINZ inc v Manawatu Wanganui Regional Council). I have not noted changes to the RMA allowing the afore said and indeed the RMA clearly states otherwise. Methods excluding Rules. sec 62(1)(e). I do not know how the Judge got it so wrong. But I am clear in my mind that, as I have already said previously, if the courts are prepared to be so blind to the sections of the Acts they are supposed to be upholding, then what injustice are they and regulators going to inflict on resource users.
There is abit about surface water degradation, unsustainable hill country land use, threatened Indigenous vegetation.
Funny that, especially, the unsustainable hill country land use. In 2004 Horizons splashed to all and sundry, 100,000 cubic metres of soil went down our regions rivers in one storm event. Horrific damage to infrastructure and our flood protection schemes. Hill country land use now unsustainable.
The damage to infrastructure was caused by 100’s of tonnes of timber falling off our hills, and there is plenty of photographic evidence to support, and one recent slip in the Manawatu Gorge has dumped 360,000 cubic metres of rock and soil, most of which is into the Manawatu river. We also have the infamous Retaruke slip in the head waters of the Retaruke river, a tributary of the Whanganui river, dumping Millions of cubic metres of nutrient rich sediment annually into it. Not a word is being said.
It also states that a multidisciplinary “staff working group” has been formed to ensure that the implementation is sensible, practical and co-ordinated. Like I have reported before. The Plan will not deliver economic growth. It will create a slow strangulation of our regions economy. I point to the outcomes stated for the well-beings. All environmental stuff.
Page 26 talks of cementing Horizons relationship with Federated Farmers. How much closer can they Get. Justice Koe’s, as previously reported (PRINZ inc v MWRC) asked Mr Gardener (FFNZ inc), just whose side are you on? This pretty much sums it up, although it appears that the Environmental Defence Society, fronted by Mr Gary Taylor is also in the same bed. I am merely reporting Mr Taylor taking Alan Emmerson to task over comments he made in his Farmers Weekly column early August giving Fed Farmers a bit of stick. A real threesome. Look out guys.
Finished off with a report on Totara Reserve. page 55. Horizons have taken it over from the Manawatu District Council . Gutless so and so’s as Horizons now get to enhance, link and expand the site. Over time Totara reserve could encompass 100,000 hecs. It will all be Horizons doing, not the District Council. They gave it to Horizons, therefore transferring their responsibility to their rate payers.
Then there was a report on the Taonui Basin. It used to be a swamp, and Horizons want to return it to that,(my view) by dumping the over flow from large flooding events into it. Approximately 3000 hecs and 50 odd farms. Silly thing is that it will only happen as a consequence of re-afforrestation of large areas of farmed upper catchments. Funny how the global warming scenario for futuristic flooding intensities matches historic data. Yes it is all there. If you take the time to research it. And do you know what. It would not surprise me if once it returned to a swamp that Palmerston North City applied to pump their sewage into it therefore mitigating the cost of expensive upgrades to meet overly restrictive standards of Horizons One Plan Water quality standard.
Wonder what happened to the National Policy Statement on Fresh Water and the Land and Water Forums Statement? Did they say something about local and democratic decision making?
Finally a staff member gave a presentation on Horizons submission to the Local Govt Amendment Bill. He apologised for not consulting in a meeting type scenario with councillors before making the submission, claiming that there was not time? Funny that. At that time you could still make submissions on line.
On Tuesday the 21st was the Passenger Transport Committee meeting. Business discussed included the Palmerston North Bus Terminal Project Update, A review of Passenger Transport Activities for 2011/12. A review of total Mobility and Health Shuttle Activities for 2011/12. Mainly to do with the fare structure. I note that Taumarunui passenger number’s were down slightly on the previous year. Thus expenditure was also down. 280 people are registered users.
I missed the Environment Committee meeting on the 15 th , although the usual reports were presented. These included, Environmental Management progress, Regulatory Mangement Activity, the Animal Health Board, Poplar and Willow Collective, State of the Environment Reporting, Manawatu River Leaders Accord, Horizons Investment in Living Heritage, and members questions.
The Poplar and Willow collective are seeking more funding. There is a funding short fall of $150,000.
The Prioritising Horizons Investment in Living Heritage item, was to inform members of the scoring systems that are used to determine the highest ecological priorities for active management. Non regulatory of course.
On the 16th I attended the TB Free meeting in Wanganui.
There is one herd in the northern region on movement control, one in the western region on an infected herd status. There are none in the coastal region, and non in Taurarua.
The infected herd in the Northern region is an embarrassment to the AHB as their monitoring for oppossum number’s did not indicate a build up of numbers until the after break down monitoring indicated so,For the completion statistics of the Manawatu Wanganui Approved Programme, the AHB completed 155 out of 170.
This last Monday the 27th I attended a meeting at Kirikau to do with the Herd break down in the northern region and I can assure you the AHB had to answer some difficult questions.
On the 24th I attended the Inaugral meeting of the Taringamotu scheme where we elected the liason committee. It is all go, not so sure if all members are happy about the cost of, but they can revisit that via the liason committee meetings.
On the 28th the Regional Council meeting was held. Items covered included, the Local Govt Regulation Inquiry. The report on the One Plan Appeals Resolution Process, 2013/14 Annual Plan Process, the Representaton review for 2012, and the Disaster Relief Fund.
The Local Govt Regulation Enquiry is part of the Better Local Government reforms. Improving regulatory performance. The Appeals Resolution process merely indicated the end of the councillor Advisory group, and the next steps to making the Plan operative. It states on page 39 that the appeal process soaked up $1.5 million.That is distinct from the total cost of the Plan. From inception to go.
The Representation review, Horizons opted for the status quo.
Thats it for me. See you next month.