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Author/Moderator - William (Bill) Barclay 

Associate Member NZ Press Council.   

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Friday
Jul212017

Does This Ring A Bell?

This story in today's Australian on-line New Daily  provides an indication of white/black divide over the ditch that may come as a surprise to some Kiwis - we are pretty lucky in some respects, and the Lucky Country has some issues to deal with that will become more and more uncomforable as time goes on.

The whole thought of the Southern Cross having been hijacked for the purpose described came as shock to me, but then so did the Cronulla riots when they erupted - do you remember the fight between bogans and  Lebanese for control of Cronulla Beach. It had implications for Autralia well beyond that stoush - but the thought of what is also 'our Southern Cross' being used in this manner, and its widespread adoption as a substitute swastika is somehow shocking.

As explained in the article, it all started with statement in 2010 by Aboriginal film director - Wayne Thornton, that the Southern Cross could well take on the swastika role. The consequent uproar was out of all proportion as he jokeingly called Cronulla at the time "Australia's next Gallipoli - the only beach we've won".

Now he has produced a film that he admits is isn't balanced, but records Australians recoiling from the Southern Cross symbolism. What he says over its relevance will resonate here - "it is not 'ours' and in many respects represents the past, not the future". The film "We Don't Need A Map"  shows on SBS in Oz on 23 July, and will no doubt eventually makes its way here.

I certainly hope that there is no latent effect locally with the return of so many Kiwis that we are currently experiencing. We can do without another spur to the expansion of extremist racist tendencies in this country - enough already.

 

 

 

Friday
Jul212017

Councils As Fiefdoms

And while we are talking about secrecy, here is another Stuff/DomPost story by Cathy Strong that should give rise to real concern.

I must say at the outset that I have nothing but full co-operation of our Council's Communication Manager - Laurna White, when it comes to providing answers to OIA requests that I have submitted - answers are provided immediately, or only after a short delay - the 30 day rule has never been pulled on me. I suspect that CEO Rob Williams has been instrumental in ensuring that this consideration has been extended into his term. 

But I am not a professional journo, and am only able to devote a modicum of time to the 'over-sight' role. It still annoys me intensely that our Council continues to use the 'closed-door work-shop' device to hide anything controversial, and bring decisions that have already been made back to Council simply for ratification (Moved: Joe, Seconded: Fred, Passed: Unanimously - end of story.)

There are a limited number of occasions when this may be appropriate for reasons of commercial sennsitivity, but it appears predominantly used to simply protect individual councillors from being publicly identified as being in favour, or opposed to decisions - just go with the majority in other words. If that is the case, then it is a sign a abject gutlessness, but hardly surprising. 

On the other hand, there are mayors, amongst whom ours is probably one who prefer unanimous decision making - certainly the last two before her were in this category, and it was extremely frustrating at times when one realised that it was simply to keep 'dissent' out of the public arena. And there is no doubt that the 'Code of Conduct' is used to keep any expression of dissent inside the walls of 'closed-door' sessions of both work-shops, and 'public-excluded' council sessions, though the latter have generally been used for 'commercial-sensitivity' reasons by my observation - the agenda is open by law (the LGA), and I do keep a close watch on it.

But such is not the case with 'closed-door work-shops', and the article by Cathy Strong does not explain that device particularly well - it really needs to be understood more widely for what it is - ostensibly to enable staff to 'explain background' (and this defined under the LGA), but we all know that that is the least of it. It is where the issues are argued out, and decisions arrived at out of sight. Coming back to Council with motions, and no discussion is not democracy as we can never know the basis for the decision, but with small councils, and weak membership, it is precisely what happens.

 

 

 

Friday
Jul212017

Here Is An Aquatic Centre Show-Stopper

Here is the show-stopper that will give all those who blithely committed to the new Thames Zoom-Zone project food for thought.

The estimated cost of a new Napier Aquatic Centre is $37m. Yes, that is not a misprint - $37m, and that is just for a 25m pool. Read the Scoop story here.

Now I don't wish to seem churlish, but in view of the apparent uncertainty of the eventual cost of the Zoom-Zone project - the so-called 'negotiations' with the contractor over the final price remain secret and confidential, and nothing will be released until they have been completed - I remain deeply sceptical in the meantime, following on the sequential incompetence demonstrated throughout the entire process.

The final price may well shock rate-payers as they are left to contemplate the wisdom of employing a contractor who was demonstrably in financial difficulty at the outset, and the failure to settle on a final figure before allowing that entity to complete the building. It has our Council 'over a barrel' as you may well imagine. 

Meanwhile, those who are, and who have always considered a new pool a higher priority, are left to contemplate an empty future, and the rugby club girds its loins for an attack on any spoils that may become available, if and when our Council, and any others who may be contemplating a 'regional pool' concept mull the likely costs, and 'back-off' at the rate of knots. 

I am serious when I say categorically that this has been one of the worst examples of how a limited but powerful pressure group obtained influence over the direction of Council with the connivance of both staff and elected members. It is too late to do anything about the situation at this point, but talk about a new pool is just that - talk, and talk is cheap. And secrecy has characterised the progress of the whole shemozzle.

 

 

 

Thursday
Jul202017

'Clean Energy Environment Risk' - World Bank!

Just before we all get super excited about alternative energy sources and storage, it may be a good idea to consider some of the impacts that have for far too long been cast into the background.

One such warning is contained in this Financial Times article from 18 July.

"Technologies needed to meet the Paris climate agreement from wind, solar, and electricity systems are “more material-intensive” than our current fossil-fuel supply systems, a report by the bank said.

The mining or extraction of metals and rare earth elements could create environmental problems in terms of energy, water and land use, the report said. “If not properly managed minerals [to combat] climate change could constitute a bottleneck vis-a-vis our policies on global warming,” Riccardo Puliti, global head of the energy and extractives practice group at the World Bank, told the Financial Times.

Metals demand could double due to growth in wind turbines and solar panels and there could be a more than 1,000 per cent increase in lithium demand for batteries, the bank said."

Read the remainder of the article to get the full impact of what we are facing as the 'supply-chain' build-up takes hold through a vast range of previously carbon committed international conglomerates, like Rio Tinto and Glencore. They have by their past performance demonstrated disregard for the effects of their actions, and there is no reason to believe that they will be any more committed to ensuring safe and sustainable practices as the change takes place.

But most of all, the question remains - just where is it intended that all the lithium, and rare-earth elements likely to be needed are to sourced?

 

 

 

Thursday
Jul202017

Taxpayer's Union On To It!

Keep track of spending promises on this site.

It is a straight out Labour - National bar-chart at present, but evetually it will have to include a estimate of Green - NZ First promises, yet to be negotiated, but which at current rates appear very significant.

National's quid pro quo's are still largely in the 'yet to be announced' area, but so are anothr $8b of Labour's, and already they are up to $8.2b in new spending - up $2.3b on the 2014 total.

Keep refering back to this site as time goes on - it is pretty well researched.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jul182017

Surely A Pre-Election Turning Point 

Recent events give rise to mild concern at the direction we are heading in this normally fairly moderate and rational political debate where both sides tend to balance each other out, and we end up with a neither one way or the other election where the MMP rules sort out in the end which side of the pendulum rules. 

But clearly nine years of National, and its staid agrarian rooted policies (remember Syd Holland?) have led to a level of frustration, and radical sugar-coated solutions that seem based on neither reason or common sense - just how much each participant can put 'out there,' while aiming at the lowest common denominator? 

Even normally glum and dull National as exemplified by their colourless leader have fallen into the trap of progressively making offers to the electorate that will be hard to fulfill, without substantial adjustment to tax rates, and benefits.

But Labour,and more recently the Greens have now set the bar very high indeed with the $2.5b social benefit bonanza announced by the Greens at the weekend. Where they imagine this additional funding will come from has by no means been adequately explained, and yet their supporters on the left and extreme left appear ecstatic at the prospect.

By the use of the newly minted and widely touted benefit of social media, they may well be able to inspire an otherwise indifferent, but significant section of the population to attend the booths on 25 September. But by setting the bar this high in order to correct the undoubted disparities that have crept into our society over the nine years, and beyond, the proponents may well be underestimating the likely reaction should their apparently hastily concocted basket of benefits fail to materialise for any reason, including being devalued by the likely resulting inflation. 

The Greens may have better off retaining the support of 'Remuera tractor drivers', by offering a more moderate package of benefits and taxes - as I said in my earlier post, they may gain virgin voters, but lose the widespread (and often unstated) support amongst the RTDs.

As for Labour - there appears be a developing and seething antagonism and resentment, represented by departures to the clarion call of Winnie the Pooh whose nascent appeal based on maintaining white middle-class values, and repelling boarders has visceral, if not fully admitted appeal to sections of the Left. 

What is really concerning arising from all this, is the otherwise absent appearance of violence that has erupted elsewhere in the World as an excuse for securing change by whatever means available. Recent events in Berlin a case in point that should be an object lesson for anyone who believes it could not happen here. 

The process is well explained on 16 July by Karl du Fresne in his Blog - "The Self Righteous Rage Of the Left"

"Political violence in the past has often been associated with the far Right, but these days it’s the self-righteous rage of the Left that presents by far the greater threat to democracy.

It manifests itself not just in outright violence, but also in the howling down of any opinions that challenge leftist orthodoxy. Alarmingly, this intolerance of dissent has taken hold in universities, once regarded as bastions of free speech and critical thought.

This process has been hastened by the rise of identity politics, which aggrieved minority groups use as a platform for demanding special treatment, and by the fashionable dogma of post-modernism, which dismisses reason and truth as artificial constructs that serve the interests of ruling elites.

Post-modernism has the enormous advantage that it can’t be challenged on a rational basis, since it rejects reason and logic as tools of white privilege. Essentially, it seeks to pull the rug out from under all the accumulated knowledge and learning that forms the basis of Western civilisation." 

Not a bad summary of the situation we may be facing here as the stakes get higher and higher. The pollies have an obligation to tone down the rhetoric, and present us with reasoned and rational options - or is that asking too much?

 

 

 

Monday
Jul172017

Winston's Drops The 'M' Bomb 

Winston may or may not be a 'racist' - a pejorative that has just about lost its meaning, but he has surely raised the stakes with his promise to hold any potential partner to the elimination of the Maori seats, and the reduction of Parliament to 100 members. There are plenty who believe even this reduction too conservative. 

But the Maori seats are another matter that will raise the stakes on race relations in this country. Even his erstwhile companion - Shane Jones has eschewed the opportunity to support him, preferring to allow the decision to be made by the Maori electorate alone. If that were to be the case, the referenda would need to be separated for obvious reasons, and that will surely not sit well with Winston who clearly sees the combined voting paper as more likely to achieve his objective.

Again, Bryce Edwards sees it a major vote attraction for NZ First - one that is likely to surpass any other of their policies leading up to the election. I guess Winston can always be subsequently 'negotiated' out of this position, but it would not sit well with the vast majority of non-Maori voters (and probably quite a percentage of Maori) who are likely to vote for the party on this issue alone. I won't speculate on exactly what category they are likely to represent.

It will be interesting to see just how Shame Jones negotiates his way through this minefield with Winston. It could well be a game-changer, but even he must give Winnie credit for being consistent. 

As with Matiria's 'confession', this could make for a very interesting election. Bill English and his policies looks positively dull by comparison, even as they are systematically released to the electorate.

 

Monday
Jul172017

Metiria Pokes The Bear!

Metiria must be feeling chipper, and above the law. Her 'confession' at the weekend Greens Conference may by a great 'instant gratification' rallying cry for the troops, but it will certainly dismay, along with her earlier outburst (see post) the many disaffected Nats, and Labour supporters looking for a new way to modify existing Government policies by bringing the Greens into the fold.

What is it about Matiria that gives her the inspiration to make these outlandish accusations and revelations seemingly with impunity - surely not the polls. To be honest, I think that along with other pollies, she is easily carried away by the hubris that accrues from excitement generated by a enthusiastic audience - it is often overpowering of common sense.

I think Metiria is one is who fits this category, and it appears indicative of a recklessness brought on by a feeling that her own experiences are more relevant to those in the room than those of her co-leader. It is anyone's guess as to just how he feels about her recent statements, both private and public, that seem to have boosted her confidence to an even greater degree, but will certainly not have improved her party's chances of being able to reach an accommodation with Labour post-Election, should that opportunity even arise.

I for one am extremely disappointed at this turn of events, and I am sure that many others feel the same way, regardless of our political leanings. And yes, I do believe that that Metiria should be investigated and if appropriate, prosecuted. At the very least she should be required to repay the amount obtained by her admitted fraud, together with interest.  Regardless of her feelings of justification, the law is the law, and should remain so for everyone, regardless of position - a stance that she has recently advocated in regard to the prosecution of both Todd Barclay, and John Banks.

On the other hand, there is no doubting the attraction to certain elements in our society who have hankered for more radical social policies. Whether the estimated $2.5b cost is affordable will no doubt be explored at length by National's back-room operators, and she may have some very difficult questions to answer over some of the other measures that were proposed in her speech to the general delirium of her audience.

Regardless, she should possibly hesitate before she 'reveals her sins' in the future, regardless of the few votes she is likely to garner from gleefully poking her finger at the law we are all required to respect in a civil society, parliamentarians in particular. Even the Greens' 'hoi poloi' understand that, I hope!

 

Thursday
Jul132017

The Other Side - 'The Regenerators'

Here is a short video from Greenpeace that shows just what can be done for farming to get out of the deep hole that it has dug itself.

I put this up as a counter to all the negative stories that I have felt obliged to post in order to provide a balance to the propaganda that we are constantly subjected to from Fonterra and the Feds.

The video speaks for itself, and is a cheerful response to all those who say that we are committed to the systems that have been put in place over the last fifty years.

 

 

 

Thursday
Jul132017

Special Economic Zones Still On The Table

If you thought that the widespread reaction to proposal to create Special Economic Zones floated by this Government some years ago was a 'dead duck,' think again. 

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges is out there floating the idea once again, presumably because Cabinet thinks there may be votes in it. He appears to believe that he can 'sneak it in the back-door' before anyone notices. Hopefully he will get the message very quickly that he should follow the advice of his officials and bury it once and for all. 

The measure is of course simply a means to expedite the by-passing of the RMA and any other legislative hurdles preventing some of their favourite aquaculture, coal mining and similar schemes getting into the water, or off the ground, and he appears to have the backing of Local Government NZ. But Forest & Bird's Chief Executive Kevin Hague has another description on RNZ after securing the rerlevant documents under the OIA:

"The scope of law and regulation that the government is proposing to suspend to facilitate these developments is breathtaking."

We in this District should be concerned mainly because of the simmering enthusiasm within the Regional Council to remove any obstacles to getting the Hauraki king-fish farming operation under way - should there be any tenderers remaining in the mix. Most appear to have dropped out once they realised the difficulties of meeting the environmental standards inherent in progressing plans to commercial profitability.

The deep-seated opposition to such plans have consolidated with the publicity surrounding the opposition to the transfer and expansion of existing salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds because of the unacceptable polution they have created at their present sites. If that is not a warning to us, then it should be. People have grown heartily sick of the lies and dissembling by both the Company and the Department of Primary Industry that has led to this impasse.

We should not, and must not let this happen here, regardless of the alledged economic advantages to be accrued from such a development to the north of the Gulf. The questions surrounding polution have never been properly answered, and the Inquiry that was set up to 'white-wash' the plans was simply that - a once over lightly examination by people who were clearly ill-qualified to examine the evidence, or otherwise simply following the Government's bidding.

As regards coal - this statement by Bridges probably best sums up the Government's ambiguous position:

"Government understands that, and that's because undoubtedly in areas such as the West Coast it's been a mainstay of their economy, it has provided very strong job numbers, and high paying jobs at that.

"But of course what is also true on the other side of that is that there is conservation values that we as New Zealanders hold very seriously, so I don't think that's a simple matter and I'm certainly not pretending that it is."

Just so!

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul122017

Interesting Factoid(s)

"The distribution of emissions is concentrated: 25 corporate and state producing entities account for 51% of global industrial GHG emissions. All 100 producers account for 71% of global industrial GHG emissions since 1988."

This extraordinary fact is drawn from a report called The Carbon Majors Database, contained in the document called Driving Sustainable Futures.

About this Report

And the huge iceberg threatening to break from the Larson C Ice Shelf has happened as predicted and reported earlier in this post   - both NASA and the European Space Agency have confirmed the break. The NZH reported it this morning as being six times the size of Auckland City.

But what determines equivalence?

Here is a story from the Huffpost that provides some other measures that may blow you away!


 

 

Wednesday
Jul122017

Council Gets Second Opinion To Oppose Catran's Cremator After The First Approves  

The first consultant approached by Council gave a total clearance to Adrian Catran's cremator. Not satisfied, the Council then approached a second who it apparently hoped would provide them with the ammunition to enable them to turn it down.

Such turned out to be the case, but on reading the decision of this second consultant, it is clear that there are substantial defective assumptions and conclusions to provide quite adequate grounds for appeal. Adrian indicates in the press release below that will accompany the Council's own release that he will indeed take the matter to court through his legal representatives at the first opportunity.

It seems clear that certain individual Council staff members may have allowed their personal prejudice to prevail in this case. A sad day indeed for the town, and for Council impartiality.

You may judge for yourself the merits of the case by reference to the decision by the second Independant Planning Commissioner John Childs here.

And here is Adrian's release:

Twentymans Funeral Directors’ will appeal a decision announced yesterday to deny a crematorium that would service families of the Coromandel Peninsula wishing to cremate their loved one in the care of local people they trust.

“We have sought legal advice and will be lodging a formal objection to this decision. It’s a case of Council choosing to go against the advice of one consultant in favour of another, and all it means is more delays for families and cost to us,” says Twentymans managing director Adrian Catran.

Twentymans’ chose to apply for a Certificate of Compliance to establish a cremator at an historic building on its large commercial site at 608 Queen Street, Thames. This was to clarify what it sees as a lack of certainty in the TCDC District Plan related to establishing a cremator.

The crematorium will cater to human as well as pet cremations. Mr Catran says it is anticipated that just 170 cremations per year would be performed, amounting to 21 working days of operation.

No differentiation was made in the Thames Coromandel District Council’s decision between the operation of a cremator that caters for pets, and one which performs human cremations.

The application was assessed against the rules of both the Council’s proposed and operative District plans, and against relevant provisions of the National Environmental Standards for air quality.

“What the decision seems to say is that TCDC hasn’t mentioned cremators anywhere in its District Plan, therefore no-one would be able to lawfully establish one. By leaving out the word in its list of commercial activities, it just somehow disappears as a commercial service that’s needed in our area.

“The Commissioner who made the recommendation also suggests that it’s not an industrial activity either, because somehow a human body is not a type of material. It’s bureaucracy, and it just means that yet more families are denied the choice to cremate their loved one in the care of local people they trust.

 “There is a need for a cremator here. This is not about a big money spinner – I won’t see any return on the costs of this in my lifetime – but for families that wish to have their loved ones cremated close to home, it’s a loss.”

Mr Catran says it is particularly disappointing when the application, as assessed by an independent planning consultant engaged by TCDC, was given the go-ahead initially. This independent planner recommended that the application fully complied and should be allowed to proceed as a General Commercial Activity that provided a service to the public.

It noted that separate resource consent may have been required under the Waikato Regional Plan but should not affect the Certificate of Compliance.

However Council staff then engaged an RMA Commissioner who over ruled this recommendation.

“We will stand by our customers and our commitment to keeping local businesses employed with our service, and will be lodging an appeal,” says Mr Catran.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul122017

The Inevitable Left-Wing Backlash Against Philanthropy

It was inevitable of course that the left would immediately react negatively, against the incredible $50m donation of a complete childrens' hospital to Wellington and the southern North Island by engineer, and property owner Mark Dunajtschik (who?).

It started with snide questioning of the Chief Executive of the Health Board by Kim Hill yesterday morning. She questioned why it was necessary for the Government to rely on outside donations for facilities of this nature when it should have priority as a tax-payer funded facility. Not one word of gratitude to Mark Dunajtscik (who is that again?) was expressed during the course of the interview - just resentment.

Subsequent interviews with union representatives, while exprssing grudging gratitude, questioned how and where adequate services would be provided to run the hospital. Assurances from the Board and Government were insufficient - utter scepticism was the order of the day. What a miserable bunch.

Then we had the spectacle of Iain Lees-Galloway - that paragon of Labour rectitude and values, praising Mark on the one hand, while attacking the Government for not providing the facility when it appears nowhere in any plans announced to date by Labour.  He went on to say that it is a facility that "should be provided as a community through our taxes." Is he mad, or somehow so distorted in his thinking that only reversion to Stalinist principles will suffice for him.

It would appear to have escaped the notice of our Labour stalwarts that elsewhere in the World, and even in this country, medical and educational facilities have often been provided by individuals, and groups of generous donors. It is the way that many wealthy people prefer to give back to the community - it is a means by which their generosity can be recognised for years to come, and we at the same time get to benefit. I don't care if they get a tax deduction, and have their name plastered all over - though perhaps Mark's Hospital will do in this case!

The left for some reason resent this manner of funding capital facilities, presumably because they question the method of accumulation of the wealth that enables the generosity in the first place. Or is just straight out envy? Who would know - all we do know is the element of seething resentment the moment anything of this nature comes to light that seems to extend right through the ranks of the left.

I welcome Mark Dunajtschik's generosity - it must surely represent the greatest single act of munificence seen in this country and should be recognised along with all the other donations he has made over the years.  If only some of the other 'high-wealth' individuals who established their fortunes on the backs of financial manipulations over the last thirty years odd felt the same way about the country that has enabled then to accumulate billions, yes billions, rather than spending on vast so called yachts, and similar extravagances, then we would have something even greater to celebrate.

Three hearty cheers for Mark M. and may he enjoy the acclaim of all and sundry (other than you know who, of course!). An immediate knighthood would not be out of the question - or perhaps on opening, just in case the money runs out.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jul112017

'Deju-Vu' All Over Again! (For The Greens)

Oh, how depressing - just when it seemed that we have a reasonable chance of a change of the nine-year old dynasty of National, along comes sweet-face Metiria Turei on Saturday/Sunday morning to accuse Peters and NZ First of being "racist." It was like night follows day, and must have caused huge dismay amongst her colleagues - James Shaw in particular. 

When pressed, she could not define her characterisation other that in immigration terms, and so left the door wide open for Winston to spring the trap that he knew would open up immediately following what otherwise appeared a very cheerful conference in Nelson. The one other widely publicised issue concerning a levy on water probably won't cost them any votes, at least until voters contemplate the rider that 50% of the resultant revenue be passed to iwi with its resultant 'ownership' implications. Labour won't accept that I suspect under any circumstances, and nor will voters.

All in all, the Greens have done themselves no favours, and mores the pity since they alone have policies in the climate change, and water quality alone that are beyond debate, but on which  Labour continue to fudge, and National continues with its 'blind man's bluff.'

James Shaw must be wondering just how he can possibly present a united front when faced with the blundering of his co-leader. I had been under the impression that he was to be the spokes-person on all things economic - and surely that includes immigration, but clearly this is not the case.

There is absolutely no way now that an accommodation is possible with Labour and NZF - just imagine for a moment the atmosphere within the first combined caucus. And in any case, it appears that Peters will have sufficient seats to once again deny the Greens any possible access to the levers of power.

Now all that remains is just how much leverage he has over the Nats, and the 'baubles' he manages to extract. It is a 'pound to packet of peanuts' that he will extract the maximum in the face of what  increasingly appears bland and pragmatic leadership. And we can look forward to weeks of uncertainty as Winston applies the screws - remember the last occasion this happened? - I do, and shudder.

 

 

 

Monday
Jul102017

Marine & Foreshore Act 

Hugh Barr, Lawyer, Secretary of the Council of Outdoor Recreations Associations of NZ , and formerly President of the Federated Mountain Clubs Inc. has raised the ‘sleeper’ issue that will soon come to the fore as we approach the election – the Marine & Foreshore (MACA) Act. This remains a ‘sleeper because there is no way that Winnie Peters will join any coalition that will allow its projected effects to become a reality.

The issue is raised in a column that Hugh wrote for Dominion Post last week that provides for the granting of major and exclusive property rights where any group can prove (S. 58) that it has:

“Exclusively used and occupied an area of coast from 1840 to the present day. Only tribal groups can apply.

This is a difficult condition to meet, because many tribal groups lived near the coast, where they could collect fish. Tribal areas often overlapped. From the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, in 1840, when New Zealand became a British colony and adopted British law, the territorial sea, out to 3 nautical miles from the coast, was Crown (i.e. publicly) owned, with the public having free access to most of it, just as it was in Britain.

This alone makes exclusive occupation difficult. As well, the coast was often easier to travel along than New Zealand's rugged bush-clad road-less interior, of the 19th century. Iin the six years from 2011 to the close-off date for claims on April 3, 2017, only about 50 claims were lodged, and only one, a special case of mutton-bird islands, on a very remote coast, met the conditions. A significant number of claims were turned down by the Crown as not qualifying."

The stumbling block lies with the 500 late applications that were filed after closing date on 3 April 2017, by which time only 50 claims had been filed. The latest batch covers the entire coastline two or three times over. Hugh goes on:

"The MACA Act is a major threat to non-Maori and Maori users of the coast, because it gives major ownership rights to any tribal group that is awarded Customary Marine Title (CMT). These rights include the ability to declare wahi tapu (S 78 of the act), so-called "sacred" areas, where trespass by anyone not part of the tribal group will be fined up to $5000 for each trespass.

“The local district or regional council is required to act as policeman, stopping this trespass. As well as fisheries inspectors (S 80 Wardens and fishery officers), and tribal vigilante groups. wahi tapu areas are more accurately called private tribal fishing and surfing areas. None exist at present, but there is a massive incentive for tribal groups to create them should they gain CMT.

As well, each tribal group gaining CMT gets veto rights over all new Resource Management Act resource consents in its claimed area, allowing it to clip the ticket. Consents can include mooring buoys, marinas, building or extending a boatshed on piles, eg at Paremata and Evans Bay in Wellington.

Furthermore, should you build without the tribal group's permission then you can be imprisoned for up to two years, or fined up to $300,000, of which only 10 per cent of the fine goes to the Crown, while the other 90 per cent goes to the tribe. This gives the tribal group a huge financial incentive for vigorous, if not vindictive, policing.

As well there are at least eight additional rights with money-making potential for any tribal group that can prove that it qualifies for CMT. Another spur to the May avalanche of claims is that each tribal group registering a claim has a guarantee from the Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS) that it will be reimbursed by OTS with taxpayer funds for legal and historic research fees.

This taxpayer subsidy is very large, being up to $156,000 for small claims, to over $300,000 for complicated claims. It is another massive inducement for tribal groups to make this tsunami of last-minute claims.

In contrast, any non-tribal group has to pay all its expenses itself, to become a party, to protect its interests..

Again, the ease of getting reimbursed by the taxpayer is also a very large incentive for tribal groups, and their lawyers and historians, to lodge this avalanche of late claims.”

The old maxim "Trust us - we will ensure fair play" does not jell - it is highly unlikely that the majority of voters are yet aware of the ramifications of this staggering and wide-ranging boondoggle, and concession to the Maori Party in order to retain their loyalty, but one thing is for sure, there is no way that Winnie will accept this departure into race-based rights, and the Finlayson led meltdown of the norms that have underscored race relations in the country for 170 years is about to be sorely tested  

We may not like his politics, but it is my suspicion that on this issue he is rock-solid with the vast majority of voters while other parties fluff around with confusing and contradictory policies.   

Just why the Crown has agreed to accept the late claims, regardless of their merit, beggars belief, and does not auger well for the future of race relations.  

 

 

 

Thursday
Jul062017

Ruataniwha!

You would think that the 3:2 Supreme Court decision released today puts the kibosh on the ambitions on those who have advocated for this dam for so long. In essence, the decisions simply says that there was no equivalence in the land swap proposed by DoC.

And there is no way that the Regional Council will take the alternative route down the compulsory acquisition road '- been there - done that,' and the reaction was furious to say the least. The balance on the newly elected Council has changed in any case under Chair, and dam sceptic, Rex Graham.

But as is so often the case with this Government - 'down is never out - simply change the law!' Maggie Barry's response is nothing short of disgraceful, and indicates a totally cynical approach to the law, and legal process. Surely even she is not so thick-skinned as to be unaware of the huge majority of people in this country who are totally opposed to this development - never mind the response of the courts.

How on earth National (or is just Maggie and her cohort?) imagines that they will gain electoral advantage from adopting this 'pig headed' approach is completely beyond me. The proposal has no virtue economically, or environmentally - it is a 'dog,' and embarrassment. It is the result of political skulduggery both at the local and national level.

One would hope that wiser heads will prevail within National as they begin to understand the widespread revulsion at this turn of events, the the wide support enjoyed by Forest & Bird and Fish & Game with their appeals that have led to today's Supreme Court decision.

 

Tuesday
Jul042017

John William Hall Arboretum 150th in 2022

John William Hall was a most unusual and talented man to whom we pwe a deep debt of gratitude for having intervened to ensure that the Arboretum off Currie Street was planted in 1872 - New Zealand's first, and probably one of the most important from the standpoint of its unique collection of native trees that go alongside others from around the World.

Read all about it on the Council Website here

Interest in the Arboretum has waxed and waned over the years, apart from amongst the dedicated members of Forest & Bird,but it has never received its deserved place in our hearts - possibly because of its unfortunate location in a run-down and mainly unsympathetic part of town. The contrast with the wonderful tourist attraction provided by the Gisborne Arboretum is stark. That may be about to change.

Our town has now benefited from the arrival of a renowned arborist who has retired to Puriri, and immediately taken an interest to the point of offering to carry out the administration of the Trust providing oversight for the Arboretum. His name is Chris Webb and he has a impressive CV.

Chris's particular interest lies in the wonderful and most unusual Podocarpus. totara sub species that John William Hall identified and planted, (variously named P. cunninghamii, and P. hallii, but more correctly P. laetus) and it is these specimans that has attracted widespread interest on which Chris is determined to to capitalise - he wants at least 150 planted around the Peninsula to ensure its survival, and to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Arboretum in 2022 to which he hopes to attract the annual conference of International Dendrological Society, of which he is a member.

Chris called a small initial meeting at the Library this morning to discuss just how the proposal may be advanced, and just how we can draw attention to the site through commemorative plantings by prominent people - politicians, and others who have a direct connection with William. Secondly to develop plans for propagating, distributing and ensuring safe planting of the P. totara around the Peninsula.

As with many other well-intentioned activities in this District, and this town in particular, the main objective must be to involve school-children in such a way that they become motivated to carry on  throughout their lives. Interest among those of uncertain age is all very well, but we need wider involvement to ensure continuity.

Chris is well motivated in this direction, and has already approached schools. He will undoubtedly ensure that an appropriate plan is developed, and the presence of Council Reserves and Parks Manager - Derek Thompson at the meeting provides confidence that this will happen.

I will post more information as soon as it becomes available. Enter John William Hall into the search engine to get earlier 2016 and 2017 posts on the subject.

Tuesday
Jul042017

Bus Service In Sight!

Denis Tegg has provided this update on the progress made to date.

This is most encouraging, and I think means that the Trial will at least go ahead - probably early Septemer - patronage will determine its future, as it should  - get ready!

 

 

 

Monday
Jul032017

Crematorium On Again!

If you imagined that the crematorium idea had gone, or was going away - think again!

Adrian Catran is not your average mortician - he is persistent, and when he thinks he is being 'done over' by a bunch of 'petals' he reacts. I am sure that he has done his home-work on this occasion, and consulted with all the necessary authorities to ensure that his application is not turned down just because of some imagined danger, or effect on business as appears to be the basis of Karl Edmunds objection.

Karl has of course stirred this up with others of his ilk from the word go, and Adrian simply has not had the opportunity to put his side of the argument in the face of emotional 'clap-trap' directed at the proposal. Karl is at it again with this kind of rubbish: 

"We think it's unethical and not dignified to be disposing of human bodies that close to where people are living and working, and where the cafe central hub of Thames is," he said.

What makes Thames so different from central Wellington (and elsewhere - Masterton for instance) where  at least one cremator exists in far closer proximity to restaurants?  

Maybe trhat will come to an end with the doco - Gutsful  that will screen at 8.30 on TV2 on 13 July.

I understand that for the first time Adrian is being given the opportunity to explain what the proposal is all about, while Karl and his crew will be given the opportunity to put the other side - should be interesting. 

Like many others in this town who have remained quiet over the course of this ridiculous protest, I am totally with Adrian on this one, and look forward to his American Cremator being 'full steam ahead' in the fullness of time.

Enter cremator into the search engine to get previous posts on the subject. 

Fortunately we have laws to protect people from this kind of gratuitous rubbish, and no amount of 'shock- jock' street protesting will alter that fact.   

 

Monday
Jul032017

Catherine Delehunty Contemplates Her Paliamentary Pension Years!

Do you remember the Canadian – Patrick Moore – founder of Greenpeace, who left the organisation when he realised that the anti-nuclear rhetoric on which it was originally based and been subverted by left-wing forces determined to take the organisation in a new direction aimed at alleviating every ill facing man-kind.

But more important, he then had a Damascus moment that nuclear energy provided the only possible alternative to a carbon future, regardless of the all the renewable alternatives being touted at the time and since, that have turned out have down-sides of one kind or another.  

Patrick portrayed his colleagues at the time in a recent Newsweek interview in the following manner:

None had any science education yet they dealt with issues around chemicals, biology and genetics and took the organization into what I call ‘pop environmentalism,’ misinformation and fear tactics to deal with people on an emotional rather than an intellectual level.”

Wow – you will surely remember that Patrick was nearly crucified at the time, but I was reminded of just how true this was when listening to a Parliamentary Service interview with Catherine Delehunty on RNZ at the weekend when she outlined her extremely modest achievements while in Parliament, along with her activist/socialist background that drove her to seek a list seat in the first place. She certainly came over as sincere, and hard-working, though just how that can be verified with a list member remains a mystery – do endless meetings and protests qualify?

Regardless, she claimed that water was her main concern (as it is mine, and many other non-greens) , but her achievements in that regard appear of zero magnitude. Other than that, fighting for Papuan independence, and for the intellectual handicapped appear to have mainly occupied her time.

One thing that Catherine did not identify was the number of Greens (including her good self!) who seem to rotate through nine year cycles in order apparently, to reach the full Parliamentary Pension entitlement.

Now, she appears intent on “sitting on the deck and thinking,” now that she has the time. But once an activist, always an activist, and she has not ruled out “getting involved again." The generous pension will certainly ease the burdon of finding time the time to think.

It appears that despite their impressive polling vis-à-vis Labour, the greens remain an impotent force and quite unable to make the breakthrough they need to exercise any real influence – their alliance with Labour will prove their undoing because Little will 'throw them under the bus' if that is what Peters demands as the price of his support, along with quite a lot else.

It is why, despite any earlier prediction here of loss of support for the Tories over environmental issues, that they are still likely to occupy the Treasury benches come October.