Well into election mode now, will up date my blogg site weekly with the goings on in council and out and about. The election has kicked off in the worst possible way with reports coming in from reliable sources telling me that the trendy left have been active for a while now, running me down and stating that I have not been performing for the district as a Councillor, that I am a loner and not a team player. Well you guys, my regular readers will know just how active I have been.
For the new guys to my site I will run you through a brief overview of my activities within and outside of Regional Council over the last 6 years.
I was elected 6 years ago when I entered Council on the back of 3 media articles printed in the NZ Farmers Weekly about this time of the year and coming up to the 2007 elections.These articles were about raising awareness of the overly restrictive rules and regulations,which would add cost and destroy wealth. My only mate I had there in the first 3 yrs was councillor Bob Walker. The team approach quickly shrouded the rest of the Councillors as the Chairperson quickly moved to squash any dissention from within the Council to the by now infamous Proposed One Plan. It is worth noting that all that I stated in 2007 about the outcomes to be achieved by this document has come to be. Overly restrictive rules and regulations adding cost and destroying wealth.
As a consequence I had to focus on rates. Unrealistic rate demands were the order of the day back then, as Regional Council acted like a vacuum cleaner, with dollars the target. I had some rate players complaining bitterly about 800% increases over 2 years. Worse still they got nothing for it. Bob and I quickly set about correcting this, although I have to say we were not as successful as we would have liked. 6-10% increases until this last year were the norm. This year is the first year I voted to approve the Annual Plan. A 2% on average increase. It could have been alot better, and I have to say was achieved only by digging into reserves. These reserves seem to be coming out of a never ending bucket. I queried this, espescially to the environmental manager who states that all the outcomes sought have been achieved on time and under budget. Thus sorry to say guys but the team is looking to ramp the rates demand up again. Except me. Bobs gone. On my own. Yes a loner but not by choice.
The first 3 years was pretty bad with at least 2 Councillors going out of their way to make me feel uncomfortable.Meetings were not something I looked forward to. Councillors just did not care about the effect their decisions would have on our Communities.
In the next term I started to perform. Outside of Council. I formed a relationship with Property Rights in NZ inc. As a consequence of the Environment Court decision some of the group decided to appeal the decision to the High Court. Thus early 2012 I and my associate John Chumins researched, collated, worked our way through the court process, and finally presented it to the court. I had only just got out of Hospital with a open fracture of my ankle so the judge kindly allowed me to argue our case sitting down with my foot up on a rubbish bin! That unfortunately was the only sympathy he accorded us, and 8 weeks later handed down his decision against us on every point of law we argued.
Yet I see the Government is refusing to accept the new case law that the court had created with regard to the section 31 Roles and Functions RMA.(Resource Management Act). I refer to the Dept of Conservation and Ministry of Primary Industry document. Land- Based Aquaculture Review. A discussion Paper dated July 2013. Please see page 4. A Ministerial decision on who controls what. No mention of over laps of functions. That was the basis of the Environment and High Court decisions .
Thus am vindicated. The One Plan is an unlawful document. Sooner or later Horizons must surely be called to account for the disgraceful nonsense that has and is going on. I note that Government has passed recent legislation requiring Judges to be transparent and accountable for the decisions they hand down.
About that time Horizons achieved what was thought to be impossible, the clearing of the willows along the Matiere stream just outside of the township. I had previously tried with adjoining land owners, offering an Environmental grant. This time round, DoC and Ruapehu District Council came on board and with an Environmental grant from Horizons the job was done. Thanks to Rob Perssons for his help.
Earlier in my first term I responded to a request for help from Graham Wakeling about an issue on the Taringamotu stream. I looked at a sight on the stream then arranged a meeting with Alan Cook, Horizons engineer. I could not attend but I believe 50 farmers turned up. It took a couple of years,but finely the Taringamotu Stream scheme came to be. It was a bit controversial,Horizons held a hearing, responded to concerns made changes, notified the decision by letter to the affected parties who did not read the letter. Horizons implemented the decision, struck the scheme rate and all hell broke lose. Council Got the ship back on track , completed the first years programmed works then held the first scheme progress meeting expecting a torrid time but were to be be pleasently surprised. Most members are very happy.
June 2012 was another foray into the court system. This time in the Environment Court. No not Horizons but Ruapehu District Coucils Draft District Plan. I appealed the Well-beings, being how the RDC arrived at determining the order of. Again outside of the Acts of Parliament we are supposed to operating under. They were written like thus. Economic, Social, Cultural, Environment. Now they are the other way round. Planners give regard and effect to the order of the well beings. Thus every policy staff consider it is the environment that is considered first.
I got struck out by the case law that the Judge I encountered had written. Oh well I tried.
At the same time I was right amongst the Protected Areas Chapter of the same plan. The Manganui-0-Te-Ao and the Whakapapa river catchments found themselves blanketed by sec 4 of the Conservation Act. The farmers and other industry and resource user had effectively lost their existing use rights, and had to apply to the Minister of Conservation for a Resource Consent for every activity carried out. This Chapter was introduced out of the blue without consultation with affected persons or approval from the Conservation Board. I was instrumental in getting it removed.
Earlier my good friend John Chumins and I researched and collated the unlawful activities of the Council Advisory Group. This committee was formed as an informal committee to oversee the Environment Court process and report regularly back to the council. It, by its very nature, could not make decisions. Unfortunately it was formed into an informal hearings panel that sat, heard new evidence and made variations to the plan being chapters 6 and 13 without Council knowledge or the full Councils approval. We handed our findings on to Minister McKelvie.
Also this year I became involved with the Tuhua Hikurangi Regional Management Committee and the Kokori Trust, setting up poplar pole nurseries. Funding has been a mission but it is hoped to get a 1000 stakes in the ground any day. Next year another 1000. Ultaminatly the committee hopes to branch into native plants as well.
Oh well that is it for this week. How do you think have performed?