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Monday
Dec152014

Vested Interests Rule - Okay?

Today's release from the WRC is indicative as to just how far vested interests have taken control of the Regional Council:

Firstly, Enforcement Officers have been knee-capped by the farming interests on and off the Council by the removal of all the measures that were introduced during the last term to give them an even chance of catching out non-compliant dairy farmers who have demonstrated a cavalier approach to effluent control. This has been achieved through the adoption of seven recommendations from a  working party that was of course dominated by these same interests.

  • The council continue to monitor non-compliance with dairy effluent rules
  • The council and industry focus on making sure farms have an effluent management infrastructure so that they comply with rules all year round
  • Helicopter monitoring ceases, all routine compliance-related farm visits are done by appointment with authorised farm decision-makers, and that monitoring focuses on areas of greatest risk of non-compliance (my bold!)
  • The council supports voluntary industry initiatives and guidelines to help farmers be compliant
  • The council improves feedback to farmers
  • The dairy industry and the council collaborate to improve compliance
  • The industry and the council work to increase farmer awareness of compliance needs.

To give you an example of the soft-soaping that has gone on here read the pronouncement of its Chairman Cr Alan Livingstone: "Many farmers were doing much better with effluent management, and significant changes have already been made, and are being made, with farm effluent systems, and at considerable cost.”  And he felt “The helicopters have run their course, but some farmers still couldn’t comply with rules 365 days a year." Well I thought that is why rules are put in place - not to enable farmers to pick and choose when they will be compliant.

Enforcement staff made it quite clear when helicopter over-flights were chopped by decree earlier this year that they were the most effective tool they had in being able to achieve a change in attitude, and ultimate compliance. Farmers who were caught out had warnings, but the ultimate sanction of heavy fines was critical in changing the general attitude of "she'll be right mate."

But it was too much for the diddems to cope with, and dark warnings emerged of an impending increase in suicides amongst this precious group unless the flights were stopped - spare me!

Now enforcement staff have to make appointments with "the decision maker" for heaven's sake before they can enter a property - no doubt so that they can take the necessary temporary steps to ensure that the effects of their non-compliance are well hidden. The dice have been stacked against enforcement - and don't tell me that "the decision makers" don't know what is required, or when they are not complying.

It is a total abrogation of responsibility on the part of the Council in my view, but we get what we vote for - it is no good now saying that we did not know the policies of these people before we put them in charge of the asylum.

Second, the same Release announced the formation of another "working group" to sort out  how Council consents for, and to find alternatives to 1080. " And guess who lies behind this preliminary move to get rid of 1080 altogether - none other than our esteemed member Clive Graf, and his sidekick Kathy White. This will of course go the same way as the Working Party on dairy effluent enforcement, with an almost majority on Council looking for any way out of 1080.

It must be demoralising for responsible and competent staff to have to deal with this total nonsense being perpetrated within the walls of Council. It represents the slow but sure demolishing of the entire tool chest that has been built up over the years to deal with threats that hang over the industry in the largest dairying area of the country, and it is being achieved essentially by concentrated white-anting by the vested interests.

It makes you wonder what lies next on their agenda?

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (3)

The level of Governance being applied by the Rate Control Group & Vercoe are appalling. Back pocket politics with no higher level of understanding of their roles and responsibilities to the wider community.

Staff I have spoken to have lost faith in the newly reformed Executive Management Tean to stand uo to the tin pot bullies and their aid headed concepts of public service. R=too worried for their jobs.

The pandering to squeaky wheels has become farcical…all under the guise of "working with others".

The politicians and the Senior Management team have forgotten what the role of a regulatory body is. The new CEO is said to be weak, can not make decision and aims to please everyone but will fail under the increasing workload of looking for answers to non existent problems Very much a District Council approach of placating the Pollies at any cost to staff and budget. Opotiki may have been his level.

Staff are increasing in despair about the direction of the Council in a number of areas.

Graf is a tin hat conspiracy nut who thinks he is being electronically monitored and White is not much better. Bramley is lightweight in his understanding of anything substantive apart from metaphysical! Great at Kapa Haka though:)

Husband is a hectoring bully and none too bright if he has fallen under Grafs posse for 1080.. Stark is only concerned about her back pocket. The rest of the Rates Control team are paperweights.

Notable exceptions to the rule have been Simcock, Kneebone Livingstone(s) and to a lesser extent Southgate. The latter does not have broad support for her role which may have some machiavellian dramas in the not too distant future.

December 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

The level of Governance being applied by the Rate Control Group & Vercoe are appalling. Back pocket politics with no higher level of understanding of their roles and responsibilities to the wider community.

Staff I have spoken to have lost faith in the newly reformed Executive Management Tean to stand uo to the tin pot bullies and their aid headed concepts of public service. R=too worried for their jobs.

The pandering to squeaky wheels has become farcical…all under the guise of "working with others".

The politicians and the Senior Management team have forgotten what the role of a regulatory body is. The new CEO is said to be weak, can not make decision and aims to please everyone but will fail under the increasing workload of looking for answers to non existent problems Very much a District Council approach of placating the Pollies at any cost to staff and budget. Opotiki may have been his level.

Staff are increasing in despair about the direction of the Council in a number of areas.

Graf is a tinfoil hat conspiracy nut who thinks he is being electronically monitored and White is not much better. Bramley is lightweight in his understanding of anything substantive apart from the metaphysical! Great at Kapa Haka though:)

Husband is a hectoring bully and none too bright if he has fallen under Grafs posse for 1080.. Stark is only concerned about her back pocket. The rest of the Rates Control team are paperweights.

Notable exceptions to the rule have been Simcock, Kneebone Livingstone(s) and to a lesser extent Southgate. The latter does not have broad support for her role which may have some machiavellian dramas in the not too distant future.

December 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

You can say that again!

December 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

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