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WRC CCC Meeting Report

Look, regardless of my previous post, Reihana Robinson is a class act - she does her homework, she puts together excellent questions, she backs down when she meets an obstacle, but by golly, if she feels she has a bureaucrat by the 'short and curlies,' she certainly hangs on. And it happened several times today - no names - no pack-drill! This gal takes no prisioners.

I thought prior to the meeting that Reihana may have been a 'one-trick-pony' on the 1080 issue, but believe me that is not the case. She had sensible comments, questions, and statements to make on just about every issue. She clearly irritates the grey-hair brigade as she tosses her ample mane off her eyes, but they need to be on their toes if they are to keep up. And I spotted some knitting, or was it darning going on during the meeting - an ominous sign!

Nothing came to a close vote today, but I can see that there will be plenty of issues arising in the future from the Marine Spatial Plan and Waikato Regional Plan alone to get her teeth into. The staff present were unfazed at most of what Reihana had to say, but they were surely put off their track on several occasions. Unlike most around the table, she appears to read the agenda, and tell it exactly as she sees it when she believes that there is too much bureaucratic clap-trap, and interference with the running of the Committee. The Chair John Sandford is barely adequate - he kept the show rolling, but appears to have a limited grasp on what is going on.

I have no idea how people are appointed to the Committee - they comprise "land owner and community representatives" but I sure as hell never voted for any of them, four Regional councillors - Graf, Husband, Bramley and Southgate/Mahuta. Leach is there as Territorial Authority Rep, and there are two Iwi Reps - Joe Davis and Honey Renata, along with Steve Couper from Forestry and Gemma White for DoC - the latter not present! They appear to have no authority other than to make recommendations to Council, but based on today's performance, I think they may well be taken very seriously at that level.

I won't go into all the issues dealt with today - they were mainly of a planning nature, but even getting through the minutes was a trial by Reihana, and she and Arthur Hinds obviously go head to head regularly. Stu Husband chimes in with hayseed contributions along with a couple of others, but most were treated with scant regard by the one person who appeared to have read, and understood the entire agenda.

Jack Wells fronted in public in forum order to make his well-worn contribution on the takeover of the entire eco-system by mangroves. I don't think anyone takes Jack very seriously - He hived off today on some story about having had a stroke ten years ago - I think the upshot was that he would be around for a long time to come. Oh well, I don't suppose that matters much. He does have a point about the length of time that WRC have been dealing with the matter (10 years), and the fact that 91% of the amount spent to date has been on admin matters - he needs to understand that the bureaucrats need to be fed and housed - and it isn't easy to give everyone the run-a-round for that long - they really need medals, not brick-bats!

Don't for a moment imagine that I am going soft on Reihana, and her sidekick Clyde Graf who appeared to have no other role today other that to back up Reihana on everything she raised. Reihana presented a well written paper as her member's report to the committee. Her major gripes related to inadequate funding for Coromandel activities and works, and in particular the totally inadequate regional contribution (15%) - the balance being local and zone-wide targeted rates. 

Reihana drew unfavourable comparisons with the funding of other major regional assets - eg Lake Taupo clean-up, the Cambridge Velodrome and Maungatautari ecological "Island."  All this with next to zero contribution to "Coromandel harbours, catchments & CMA."This was also the source of a loud and repeated complaint by Leach early on in the meeting.

She then launched into her attack on pest control policies in an effort to justify a far greater contribution to efforts of all the individuals and groups who are making a real contribution in the area.The recommendation was for bulk purchase of Goodnature A12 & A24 traps (these are the new highly recommended CO2 fueled units)  She then made an impassioned plea for the re-introduction of a bounty program for possum control, and to stimulate economic growth.

All this was well argued and reasonable stuff to which the Regional Council needs to give full consideration.

Note that there was not one mention of 1080 in her paper - there is a place for every reasonable measure to be put to use after all. But her opposition to 1080 remains implacable, and today was just a side skirmish - the war goes on, and there are other battles ahead - a bit like fluoride really!

Meanwhile, six mature possums caught on our front deck in ten days in the good old yellow trap is not a bad start with my war. I must get a new spring - the old one is a bit dodgy, and wingin' em!  


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Reader Comments (8)

Your 'love in' on Reihana would be all the more acceptable had she and her cohorts up here had supported the pest proof , coast to coast fence proposed in the early nineties for the top half of the Peninsula For whatever reason the short piece of show fence at the road junction north of Colville was cut down and disposed of and the DOC case [and will to complete it] collapsed with it. Sad because had that been completed we would have had a ecological reserve that would have outshone Maungatautari -- and there would be no discussion now about pest control in this area.
With Cuvier Island just off shore from us here and our area pest free we could have had a wonderful tourist attraction --but sadly because of some ill thought out arguements against the pest proof fence we are still fighting bloody opossums and et al

February 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArchy Frog

Absolutely agree - my 'love-in' was over the top, but simply a reaction to what went on in the meeting. The failure to get the fence built was disaster about which Reihana remains unrepentant - a dammed shame. DoC's will to do anything have diminished to zero - they simply go through the motions these days, and then rather badly. I think it could characterised as 'gun-shy.'

February 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBill Barclay

Great to read your take on the WRC meeting.
As a former member of the same sub-committee it is great to see some action being received by the committee members and it is all due to the power of Reihana's interest. She gives us bird and wild animal lovers hope.
If Maungatautari had proven at all successful we might be able to take the comments above about the Coromandel fence a little more seriously but Maungatautari has proved a bottomless pit for money costing a million and a half dollars a year just to maintain and offering just a few caged species with little or no attraction to visitors. All the talk of a wonderful tourist attraction is nonsense.
Thank heavens we have not been subject to this pointless and intrusive expense

February 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterhawklover

Hawk lover sounds more like a pig lover to me - in line with most of the anti-1080-at-all-costs brigade. There are, by the way, plenty of hawks cruising the bush. They look for native bird nests in the tree canopy from which they eat the chicks. The only good thing for a hawk is an arse-load of lead.

February 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbird lover

Bounty sounds attractive but lacks any cost benefit analysis at this stage, Citing Crump that well known Bullsh&*^#r does not fill me with confidence in her proposed business model. If this can get RTC's down to 5% or less then it would get my vote to subsidise the trapping industry with public funds. Otherwise just keep enjoying be a recreational trapper that fritters around the edges and makes a bit of extra cash and the let the pros get on with dealing with biosecurity threats in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

February 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

I agree with Peter. Bounties offer no incentive to reduce numbers to even close to 5% RTC. Its in the bounty hunter's favour to leave easy pickings out there. As for Hawklover, you cant compare Maungatautari to the fence proposed at upper Coromandel. There are many other issues going against Maungatautari - remote location, uncooperative neighbours, difficult terrain, unrealistic management expectations, and so on. Compare Coromandel to Tawharanui or to Zealandia and you'll see what can really be done with effective and simple predator proof fencing. Finally Reihana's biggest problem is a total unwillingness to compromise on any stance she takes, which will ultimately block any progress she wishes to make with her issues.

February 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSailing Away

Could it be that Hawkelover is Reihana's non-de-plume??
At the time of the proposed Coromandel fence [though I was not living here at the time] - it would have been a simple excercise as I understand it-- nothing like the 'island' at Maungatautari ,especially as the coast was the watery barrier around the balance of the northern tip.
The area devoid of noxious animals and weeds would have been magnificent, and despite what Hawkelover may say, a fantastic sanctuary for some of our endangered species, such as the Archey's and Hochstetters frogs , geckos, kiwi etc. But what the anti fence brigade won't tell you is thay wanted to farm the wild animals, namely pigs and goats and practice horticulture in the hills!
Conservation is not a word I expect that Hawkelover would utter often-- and now I live here and realise first hand what the area could have been, I am guted the fence never happened.

February 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArchy Frog

This comment string is now closed , and the last comment by Native Bird Lover will be removed - makes you wonder why it always appears to deteriorate in this manner.

February 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBill Barclay

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