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Coromandel Catchment Committee

Amidst much 'binding in the marsh' regarding the alleged 'hi-jacking' of the Committee by 'certain interests' (read Reihanna Robinson!), the business of today's meeting appears to have been resolved with most of her motions falling on deaf ears.  

The thing is that Reihana brings attitude and passion to any meeting. It leaves one with the feeling that others are lacking, and constantly on the defensive. Boundary fences, 1080, organics, customary and recreational fishing, along with using meeting procedures in the most advantageous manner appear to occupy her when presenting to this particularly dreary forum, and she is well versed in every facet.

Surprizing as it may seem to some, I agree with a lot of what Reihana submits, but there are boundaries, particularly in regard to 1080 and the proposed Recreational Fishing Zone that intersects with the Marine Protected Area where we are unlikely to reach consensus.

This has never prevented spirited debate, and I trust that these differences will never allow a gulf to develop between she and Geoffrey, and myself. I need to think very carefully before I post on any of these issues as  they are not backward in letting me know when I step over the hypothetical line of logic.  

One issue that will always join us at the hip relates to proposed cage fish farming in the Gulf. No matter what balderdash is formulated by the bureaucracy, the strength of the scientific evidence presented to the appointed Committee will remain one of her great achievements in protecting our waters. But it is never over until it is over, and vigilance is required. I am confident that with Reihana continuing to work the opposition, hell will freeze over before those cages ever get anchored in our waters. 

One of the four beautifully framed Recommendations she put forward today was to re-submit a request to staff to produce the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone Report - long suppressed through embarrassment I suspect, due to the total indifference of commercial interests. This has apparently now gone on the WRC agenda, but it will be like dragging blood out of a stone!

Other motions that entered choppy waters included an attempt to move meetings to centres other than Thames. This was accepted with Thames added back, but as it remains a staff decision, and security now becomes an issue because of the pathetic behaviour of a certain 1080 opponent at the last meeting who threw water over a staff member, moves elsewhere remain unlikely regardless of Reihana’s motion.

Her attempts to get support for subsidised purchases of Goodnature rat and possum traps fell on deaf ears, mainly because of the lack of confidence that it is the right choice. Other members appeared unconvinced that they would receive the required maintenance, and we appear to await the ultimate solution, though Goodnature has made a giant step in that direction.       

Aside from Reihana, the vexed issue surrounding Whangamata mangroves remains active. Local illegal volunteer efforts to reduce the ‘infestation’ have proven to be totally futile if not counter-productive, and regardless of the fury and expletives expressed by Jack Wells and his loyal cohort, the removal is going nowhere – fast. Mud remains mud – surprize, surprize, and the much anticipated influx of sand remains as elusive as ever.  

This whole exercise designed to assign blame for the spread of mangroves has proven totally futile, and WRC has ceased all removal activity in the meantime while “further assessment takes place.” Yeah right! It is not a simple black and white issue as the residents of Whangamata would have us believe – it is complex, related to upstream forestry and dairying activity, amongst many other factors, and no amount of hair-pulling and feet-stamping is going to change that. The attempt to replicate the Gold Coast at Whangamata will remain a dream.

Jack's futile battle to preserve the space for marine sports, and the neat views of expensive waterside dwellers, has been a great singlr-isue vote-getter, but I am confident that short of a Supreme Court appeal, he is unlikely to ever win this battle. The bureaucrats have the upper hand, and the report that went to the Committee today was quite explicit in that regard. Repairing the damage done by spirited volunteers may take some time, and I mean years!

There was a great deal of other murmuring regarding in influx of various weeds and other nasty’s, but Reihana and the mangroves seemed to take up most of the fetid air at today’s meeting. Rather like deja vu all over again!

By the way – Stu Husband was the only WRC councillor to turn up - our Clyde Graf managed to make himself scarce once again, along with our Mayor, now on the downward stretch! It seems that the Coromandel Catchment Committee does not rank terribly high in the priorities of certain members.

Hopefully, we can get a little more crackle and pop out of the Council meeting on 24 February.




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Reader Comments (1)

Mangroves (slightly different issue I know) are one of many invasive 'weed' species that struggle to get serious attention from policy makers. Starting a conversation with authorities about invasive weeds and their management is, at best, fraught with delay and frustration. Privet is blooming now, so that that it is especially easy to see how it is invading the hills behind Thames.
Equally so with invasive pest species. Opossums, rats, stoats, et. al. are mounting a spirited return and pose (again) a significant threat to forest (canopy) and birdlife, but it would appear that there is neither political will nor available resource to contemplate wide-spread and cohesive management strategy development. Weeds and pests are only an issue, it would appear, when they block a view or are approaching a residential boundary?

February 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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