Hello people. This last week was pretty full on. I attended 3 meetings. The first on Monday night. Sharron came with me which was great. This meeting was pretty well attended, and I covered a range of subjects including rates and the last 6 yrs in Horizons. It seems to me that most people expect councillors to convince fellow councillors just by arguing the toss around the council table. This plays a part but the biggy is submissions. Nobody can argue against a submission and especially plenty of them.
On Wednesday night Sharron and I went up National Park to support Elaine Wheeler. She held her meet and greet at Eivins Bar and Restaurant. She is standing as a district councillor. Elaine this last year or so has got into the swing of the issues around the RDC goings on. It will be this up and coming term that she will really come into her own. That is the way it is. Have to find your feet first. Elaine joked that there was more councillors there than rate payers. Had a nice meal.
Thursday was the Rotary Clubs meet the candidate evening in Taumarunui. 4 Mayoral candidates and most of the District Councillors standing for Taumarunui ward, myself and Mr Rollinson. I had 3 minutes to get my message across. Quite funny really, the other candidates had the same, and they all seemed to have pages and pages of speech notes. I found myself wondering how they could get through it all in 3 minutes. I only had one page. Mr Rollinson spoke well although I tired of hearing about how many 100’s hec’s of Broccolly and Parsnips he grew, including that he worked for the RDC as it’s tourism offer and then went on to represent the Waimarino as a District Councillor. I wanted to know what he would do for us, and the only thing he could say was that he would work with Horizons staff to ensure a fair and even handed implementation of the LUC’s. He offered a fresh voice.That he was pretty good at convincing people with his powerfull arguments. I get the idea that he will be a Horizons puppet and will pretty quickly get gobbled up by the system. One cheeky supporter of Mr Rollinson asked how I would convince councillors to my way of thinking . Well obviously I cannot. This guy I recognised as a Hort man, and I asked him where was his organisation when the applants to the Court process’s needed them. Hort NZ was named as a party to the proceedings on points of law, but alas no where to be seen. I could see he was abit taken aback. Lets face it .If Mr Rollinson as Hort NZ’s rep up here cannot get Hort NZ into court to support others then how is he going to convince Horizons.
On Friday night I travelled down to Ohakune Cossy Club, showing my face, and then on to the Raetihi Club. I did the rounds of each table introducing myself, what I stood for, answering questions and finding out some pretty good info that I need to know. Water Takes. Thats another story.
Please read the following and then decide who you want to represent you.
The last six years
1. I entered Horizons on the back of 3 articles printed in the Farmers Weekly August-Sept 2007. Remember? Titles such as, “Dam the Plan to Hell.” My first taste of representing people came straight away, when Mr Proude rang complaining about the Mangahauhau stream, Lakes Road in the Waimarino. It filled up with silt after the storm of 2004 and was inhibiting the effectiveness of the Pakahe flood protection scheme. Water was banking up causing flooding every time there was a decent rain. Horizons were not interested. A quick meeting on site with the appropriate staff, abit of straight talking and Bobs your uncle…. Problem solved.
2. I spent all of the first term gathering information, finding my feet and doing the sums. I did an economic analysis of the effects of the Land Use Classification’s on Ruapehu and across the region. I followed the Whanganui Treaty Settlement hearings. I studied the science, and concluded the Proposed One Plan is not about water and soil outcomes.
3. I studied the benefits for a Unitary Authority model Wanganui and Ruapehu. Financially and politically.
4. I Studied the Acts of Parliament we are required to work under as councillors.
5. I found myself, along with the President of Property Rights In NZ, the only lay people, in a Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) conference July 2009. The Conference room was filled with the Crown Law Office lawyers, the Treaty Negotiator, Ms Brosinan, and a panel of Lawyers. We argued against another injustice being created, and the subjective interpretation of the word sustainable.
6. I confronted Minister Powers with my concerns in April 2010. The next week (Tuesday) he announced his resignation effective at the following election.
7. Morally I Supported the parties, Federated farmers and PRINZ inc in the Environment-Court Dec 2011.
8. PRINZ went on to appeal the Environment-Courts decision in the High Court. My wife and I largely funded it.
9. I had success in seeing the Matiere stream cleared of willows.
10. I saw the Tarringamotu stream scheme to fruition. There were political outcomes as well as water and soil that had to be addressed. (Several sights of cultural significance).
11. I submitted against aspects of the Draft District Plan. The Tangatawhenua. (Co-governance). I found myself in another forum arguing against, on the basis that the law did not allow such an out come. The end result is that those Iwi seeking such an outcome have gone to the Govt for a law change. I also successfully submitted against the Protected Areas Zone of the same document. This included Sec 4 Conservation Act. Manganui-o-Te-Ao river catchment and the Whakapapa from Raurimu to Kakahi. Those farmers and resource users captured would have had to apply to the Minister of Conservation for a Resource Consent to wipe their bottoms, let alone conduct day to day business and activities. There would have been a Heritage Order created, and to sell, the only option would have been the Public Works Act.
12. I appealed to the Environment Court on the Well-beings. The issue was how the RDC contrived the order of the Well-beings. Unfortunately I struck the Judge who wrote the case law that enabled him to strike me out! These Well beings drive planners. They need to be written in an order that drives economic growth. Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental. Its how planners, when writing up a policy and supporting plan, think. What out come is to be sought here. Oh yes the Well beings say environmental first. Thats what happens. Nobody can deny that.
13.This years project has been identifying and gathering the evidence and seeing it collated into a readable form detailing the Councils Advisory groups illegal and unethical activities. Chapter 6/13 of the Proposed One Plan. (Thanks John). It is my view and others that this has caused chaos for Horizons. We passed it on to Ministers and the Taurarua Economic Development Group. Horticulture NZ nor Federated Farmers were interested.
15. I presented a remit to Ruapehu Federated Farmers Annual General meeting in June to be forwarded to the National Conference requesting the Ministry of Primary Industries legislate to limit the nutrient budgeting tool Overseer to measuring inputs only. This passed both meetings, a real feather in Ruapehu’s cap. And as a consequence MPI is trialing the tool on Land Corps farms. Sorry Hort guys, but you will hopefully benefit as well.
16. With the exception of the river and drainage schemes. People do not see the work I do in a public way.
Horizons budgeted $34 million for this years rate take. $45 million for the year 2020 Long Term Community Council Plan. This is clearly unaffordable. Yet we have sewage scheme upgrades to come, and compliance costs from the likes of Schedule E of the One Plan. 15000 sights of bio-diversity, or “Habitats”, plus the regulatory provisions to protect. This is not including sights of significant aquatic, just about every river and stream. A regulators dream gone mad. This years Annual Plan is the first I voted to approve in 6 years. 2%. Yet it was achieved largely by dipping into rate line reserves. An activity manager’s favourite quote. “We delivered the works programme on time, in full, within budget”. Horizons own rates in arrears as at 30th June, equates to 8900, (up 1900) accounts totaling $2.7 million, up $600 k on the previous year.
18. RDC wrote off of $90k from 6 years previous and beyond. What about the period leading up to. Is this a similar story right across the Region?
19. Unitary-Authorities are coming; Waiarapa with 3 District Councils. Napier, Hastings, Waiaroa. Tauarua? Which way will it jump? There are others in our region considering. Ruapehu and Wanganui where planning is already well advanced. Who else will be in the mix? Taranaki, Iwi boundary’s. Embrace them. They will, if structured right, deliver true local and democratic decision making for and on behalf of our Communities. We will decide what we can afford. We will decide what suites our communities. We will decide the level of environmental degradation we are prepared to accept in order to provide for our economic, social, cultural and environmental needs.
Please remove us from the faceless politicians sitting in Palmerston Nth, removed from the districts that elected them. But to get the bennefits of such a model the Well beings as described above need to be changed. Economic, Social, Cultural, Environmental.
20. The National Policy Statement (NPSFW) on Fresh Water sets the scene for the above, with the Land and Water Forums work to reinforce that. Horizons in my view are thumbing their nose at this work describing the NPSFW as a Land Rover, whilst Horizons is driving a Rolls Royce. Lets watch this space. But above all you have to get involved. You have to get off your chuffs and make submissions for and against. You have to support/ensure that the right people are elected and that your elected reps are then doing their job. Too many of them fall by the way side, not liking to be on the outer, finding it easier to shelter within the team.
It is all too easy for elected Councillors to sit there nodding their heads, eating their lunch and picking up their pay on Wednesday.