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Monday
Mar062017

Waikato Plan Change 1 - Healthy Rivers

Council called a special meeting today principally to consider two items - the change to Easter Opening Hours - that did not take too long - we now have open slather just like any other holiday destination. Some cities, including Auckland are going to take far longer to reacah concensus.

The other item is far more contentious. It is the Waikato River Plan Change 1 - Healthy Rivers that passed to consultation stage just prior to the Election, and that has been the subject of intense lobbying and pressure by Federated Farmers and local farmer groups ever since. They are determined to get the implementation delayed, and eventually to get it reversed when they can mount sufficient pressure simply because they cannot stand the use of nitrogen reference points to determine farm nutrient limits. Any suggestion of outside control on intensification is a complete anathema.

They have an ardent supporter in Sandra Goudie who wrote the letter to the WRC that she proposed today in the following terms.

"We support the call for the delay of Plan Change 1.

Eventually similar plans may be proposed for the Waihou Piako Coromandel Catchment.

This means it is imperative that the basis for planning is sound and we note the following points:

Testing

In our view, the only way to properly assess what is happening and where, is to test the waterway immediately upstream and downstream of land use change, beginning at the headwaters.

Currently, testing is largely only done at tributaries which does not give a true picture of point source discharge.

We all now know that possum faecal coliform is present in many of our watercourses around the Coromandel Peninsula. Other animals and wild bird flocks can also have similar impacts.

Within Waikato waterways are koi carp and catfish causing significant damage to beds and banks of waterways.

Further work needs to be done to properly show a clearer understanding of the catchment and the significant effects of koi carp, and any solutions to that problem.

Testing and extrapolating the true cause of nutrient, e-coli and sedimentation is an absolute must to properly inform any planning proposals going forward.

Consultation

We support the need to properly engage with all affected parties to ensure a contiguous planning response.

A delay allows the necessary time for this to occur.

Waikato District

We support the concerns raised by the Waikato District Mayor Alan Sanson, and will be watching the outcome of decisions being made.

We do not wish to be heard.

Thanking you.

Regards

Sandra Goudie Mayor"

I don't wish to get into an argument with Sandra on the issue, but her position represents a a total cop-out in my view, and reflective of the view she brought to the task from her previous involvement with the dairy industry. Possums, koi carp and catfish - is she joking? Never was there a 'red herring' of this shape, or size!

As for testing the waters "upstream and downstream of every property" is a straight subterfuge to sabotage any attempt to introduce controls.

In fact, the proposed changes are mild, and the 3,000 farmers who are said to oppose it will inevitably have to accept appropriate controls at some point - the contrary is simply not politically expedient, and their National Party friends will have to face the music before the election - the feeling even amongst its own base appears strongly in favour of the controls suggested within Change 1, so they better be prepared for some head winds.

In the meantime Sandra may care to consider the conflict of interest aspect, not that anyone seems to take any notice these days - self policing simply doesn't work. As a farmer she would appear to be an "interested party." The paper has not become the subject of a presser at this point - the meeting commenced at 1pm.

I love everything else that she has done since her election, but on this one, we stand in opposite corners. But never mind, My understanding is that the there are already several with 'cold feet' on the WRC who are worried about the reaction, and who will probably 'back-down' in the face of the demand for a delay/backdown from their furious farmer base.

Sandra may have got her way at this point, but there is still a little water to flow under the bridge on this.     

 

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