Hi people.

This is the last post for this year. I do not know how many of you read in the Rural News last month where Justice Koes is an elected member of Fish and Game. Yes elected and he is the very same Judge who heard Property Rights in New Zealand inc appeal to the High Court in April. He did not declare his non percurcery interest to PRINZ. This is disgraceful. He could not hear that appeal. It is a real no-no. Had PRINZ known they almost certainly would have appealed to a Higher Authority. This only came to light when a reporter had a tip off and did abit of digging in the High Court and sure enough he has declared his non percursory interest for the Horticulture  Federated Farmers verse Manawatu Regional Council. The reporter, in his artical, states that the Feds  have no comment to make. Well is’nt that typical of that crowd. Do they want to win or do they not?

On the subject of the Feds, It seems I took abit of stick at the last Feds provincial meeting in Taumarunui for not being present. I rang the person responsible, to state the reasons why. They are,  that the meetings are held mostly on days when I have meetings at Horizons. When I do attend I am only allowed to attend as a member. When I do request speaking rights, I am refused and am told the reason is that I am a bully. I have the email available for any body who wishes to have a copy. Do not think I am being pedantic. When I was a regular attendee many years ago. The Regional Council reps always attended. Don Middleton and Chris Lester. Both giving a report.

There has been some dreadful nonsense go on with regard to this Chairperson and opinions that have been presented to the District Council . I note that the Mayor was so incensed by this and other, that she has told me she has stopped going to the Feds meetings and has stopped paying a sub to the Feds. Enough said. 

I get Murial Newmans weekly email update. I do not usually read them, but last week I did. Blow me down there is a guest commentator stating pretty much how  I described the treaty settlement process and the out comes sought, several years ago. Indeed the post is still available in previous pages, along with an interpretation of the Resource Management Act. I suggest a read. I am not afraid to say I am afraid of the future. Talking to one High profile Iwi representative recently about this subject. His comment was lets hope common sense prevails. I continue to tell rate payers to get out of debt.

I have also heard the Deputy Chair of Ruapehu District Council say during his opening address to the Trick or Treaty symposyum I attended in Taumarunui, and reported on last month,  that the District Council was persuing a Co- Management agreement for a Unitry Authority for the District. I Put this to two Councillors I had morning tea with before the District Council meeting I attended on Friday. Both were aghast and stated that that was not their understanding. So one thing is now clear?  Yes to a Unitry A from council. This was the platform I used in conjunction  with my stated Rate Freeze Candidate banner for the last election. I did not get a very good hearing from the District Councillors then. Seems they thought I was in la-la land. Great how opinions change. I wonder what will come of this Co- Management suggestion. One thing for sure, is that the Law does not allow for such agreements. But then as I and PRINZ have discovered. It is the law of the wild west out there, and it is the lawyer with the biggest emotive argument that wins the day. Of course it helps if the opposition has the sympathe of the Judge.

Well blow me down. The NZ Hearld also reported last month. Trout . Yes Trout are starving to death in lake Taupo. There is not enough food for them. The lake is so clean, that the fishing punters are going elsewhere to fish . As a consequence the tourist industry in Taupo is in crisis. I have a report somewhere going back to 2006 stating that the water flowing out of lake Taupo was 11 times cleaner than the New York City water supply.   In the mean time the Western Bays farmers have been hammered . Most of the smaller operators have taken the dosh and gone, and the large incorporations have bought land out side of the catchment. Incidently two have found themselves captured by the Horizons One Plan.Of course I understand that sewage issues from the little holiday settlements around the lake edge have been addressed. Any way. No farms. No Trout. Just Trees.

Horizons One Plan keeps on trucking on. The Hort Guys along with the Feds have managed to convince the Judge that there is enough new evidence now available to discredit Horizons sec 32 report on the costs to our industry and thus communities as a consequence, and that he should allow it to be heard, and in the light of, reconsider his decisions. 

Thus the judge has given the Hort/Feds guys until the end of January to present arguments for, within the constraints of the law. The evidence  is the Ministry of Primary Industry, David Carter’s, sec 32 report he commissioned Land Care to do, and includes the wider catchments to be included from 2017. It is a shame to see David Carter  possibly moved side ways into the speakers role. He is  a strong critic of Council. Seems to be the way these days. And as a consequence you can see the pressure already coming off staff and those councillors who are supportive of the plans. 

One dairy farmer councillor has done his home work and figured out that a barn  supported by a cut and carry year round operation will cost $2500/cow to build. Wonder how the food miles argument and consequential tax will effect the bottom line. 

We are having a series of work shops on the One Plan decision at this time.  The Judge has said that there cannot be significant changes to his decision. My view is that there are significant changes and I am scratching my head. Of course the changes will not let cockys off the hook, just stretch the pain and the cost out abit longer. It is my view that Land prices in these priority catchments will have to fall as purchasors  factor in the costs of meeting the Limits? Maximums…. what ever. But it is also clear that the nutrient budgeting tool Overseer is nothing but a tool. And that as more stringent environmental out comes are desired, so the tool will be updated. My view. Of course people can say that equally the opposite can be true. I look forward to Overseer 7 being introduced to the  Lake Taupo catchment soon.  

This month we had the Catchment Operations meeting . The Lake Horowhenua Accord took up most of the morning. Two Maori owners of the bed of the lake spoke of their concerns about the formation of the working party, or lack of community representatives on, to oversee the clean up of the lake. They stated clearly that it is no good hammering the cockys with the One Plan. The problem is the Queen Street storm water drain and sewage.  

Mayor Duffy spoke next making a number of assertions, and one of the previous speakers walked out. A bit of drama. Next up was an item on Fracking. And a brief discussion on just what the resource consent applied for by Apachy Oil was for , and that it is for exploritory drilling only.

 Another item of interest was Local Government reform. This outlined Greater Wellingtons proposal put to their regions rate payer. It seems that Regional Council down there wants to be God. But The District Councils on the East Coast want none of that. Let us out of here they say, and are pursuing their own amalgamation model.

There was a PX item on the Green Rig. Cannot comment. Will say nothing to be concerned about. 

The following day, the 12th we had the Environment Committee meeting.  Mr Judd and Mr and Mrs Paton had speaking rights. Their concern was the Palmerston North Waste Water Treatment Plant. They were concerned about sludge, that Palmerston City City Council is incapable of running their way out of a paper bag, that Horizons is being to lenient on them. 

There were items  on the Whanganui River Enhancement Trust, and the Manganui-O- Te-Ao  river and catchment. Hautapu caught my eye blaming agriculture for the reason why it was to be included as a priority catchment in future. I pointed out the items still to come discussing the gorse and broom issuses in the upper catchments, both plants being legumes  which are capable of fixing up to 90kg/hec of nitrogen per hec per annum. And futher to that up until recently the Taihape sewage plant discharged almost pure untreated sewage straight into the Rangitiki River.

I made the  assertion that the councils oppossum control operation between Utiku and Mangaweka was an expensive failure.  Should they get the Animal Health Board in to do the job properly? Staff are very sensitive around this subject. Do not like any critisism of. One wonders how long you can go on meeting targets under budget and before time, before something gives.    

Further  items informed councillors on  activities being the Kai Wharite,(Blue Duck), Tawata,(Kokako) and Te Amo Taiao(pest control). Projects of which are in my District. 

In the regulatory space, sewage schemes were once again to the fore. Seems to me that they will never be complient all the time. Indeed District Council staff say that is a fair assessment. I also learn’t that the $120 million Wanganui City Council WWTP is a expensive failure. 

Merry Xmas