This was my column in the Ruapehu Press 12 months ago. Parts of it are even more relevant today.
Horizons My View

Well this past 12 months have really screamed by. It has been full on with farm and family commitments and a full on work load with Horizons.
Coming from Southern Hawkes Bay where dry summers were the norm this years drought was a hell of an experience. I don’t know if global warming is real or imagined but our seasons are getting later and dry summers the norm. Wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have facial excema to add to the mix. Now not only is it a sheep thing but cattle seem to be succumbing to the disease as well.
Add to that a meat industry supposedly the majority of which is farmer owned hell bent on land use change which of course is happening on a large scale. Eg grapes, Diary and dairy support units. Subdivision for housing and lifestyle blocks. Why do we need Horizons One Plan.

I attended the Territorial Authorities Forum in July in Palmerston North for Mayors and Chief Executives. Hosted by Horizons which was all about bonding, team building etc of local government. It gave the district councils an opportunity to vent their spleens, so to speak. And they certainly did that. With one Mayor promoting Michael Laws as chairperson of Horizons, tongue in check of course.
This last week I had 3 days at the Waitangi tribunal here in Taumarunui. What does concern me is that political and environmental extremists are going to use Maori cultural issues to bring about the outcomes these people desire. Land use change, political upheavel, the destruction of democracy.
We are all one people who have to live sustainably in our communities. The environment has to be managed for the benefit of ourselves, our health, wealth, social and cultural needs. Managing humans for the benefit of the environment whether for environmental or cultural reasons will only result in economic chaos, with whole communities being pitted against each other. Never before has New Zealands economy been so threatened from within by our own people determined to impose their beliefs on the majority seeking the political and environmental outcomes they desire.
Now is the time for cool heads, steady hands and commonsense to prevail. We all want a brighter more prosperous future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas.