Time to pull back
The problem with democracy and politicians is that the only qualification needed is to garner more votes than others.
MP Katrina Shanks demonstrates this all too well with her letter published this week. She talks about ‘‘National’s goal is ensuring our country doesn’t go deeper into debt’’ but she appears to have no idea that it is doing so at an alarming rate because of the public’s demand for goods which cannot be paid for from the proceeds of international trading.
We have been living beyond our means for over 40 years, even when the government has produced surpluses.
The level of government debt in this country is a small percentage of the country’s total debt. Selling state assets to Kiwis will do nothing to alter the amount of international debt held by the country. It is an entirely internal transaction and it is our external transactions that are driving our deteriorating credit position.
No matter what we do, our country is now in the unenviable position of never being likely to return to long term surplus with our trading partners unless our population of consumers is seriously reduced. Profits by foreign banks alone increase our debt by over $3 billion annually.
Government does not have to borrow internationally to pay its domestic bills. If it borrows domestically then that doesn’t change the country’s debt in any way. If it sells valuable assets accumulated over past years, what will it do when the proceeds have been spent on increased consumption?
We’ve done that more than once already and we are running out of options. The simple truth is our standard of living must decline if we are not to end up in serious financial strife – and the sooner we start the better.
The same applies in Porirua City and I thank Chris Gollins and others like him who have submitted on the LTP accordingly.
BRIAN COLLINS, Papakowhai. grab by the PCC. The city is looking at forcing some property owners to maintain ‘‘special vegetation areas’’ on their private property, as a ‘‘public amenity’’. On the last page under FAQ’S they ask ‘‘Will this mean that there will be more restrictions on what I can do on my property?’’ they answer themselves ‘‘Not necessarily . . .’’. In other words yes.
My land, my rates, my work, my mortgage, but my property rights extinguished. Why penalise the tree owners?
S HARPHAM, Whitby. Environment & City Planning manager Matt Trlin responds: In 2011 the council commissioned a study to identify significant urban vegetation areas within city (with either ecological and/or amenity values). While many identified areas are contained within public reserves, many significant areas also ‘‘spill into’’ privately owned land.
A discussion document was prepared earlier this year, covering ideas for how these significant areas might be managed. Property owners with sites containing these areas received this document and were invited to provide feedback. To date officers have met with more than 250 property owners to discuss and review their individual sites, as well as the discussion document.
Feedback received so far has indicated broad support for the identification of these areas and efforts to promote their retention, maintenance and enhancement.
However, the council does recognise any management approach needs to be reasonable and pragmatic and that it can only be done with the council working in partnership with the landowners. Future management of these areas needs to recognise and provide for property owners to be able to:
- easily protect their property and personal safety from dangerous vegetation and fire hazards
- provide for maintenance of living areas and established gardens
- maintain sunlight access to buildings
- remove pest plants and non-native species
- enable restoration planting and enhancement and maintain views.
Our aim is to support property owners to maintain and enhance these significant vegetation sites on their land so the city’s landscapes and scenery can be protected into the future for the benefit of everyone.
The council will be producing a draft management plan and draft change to the District Plan which will be further discussed with landowners in late June/july. Anyone wanting to discuss this with an officer are welcome to phone Matt Muspratt on 237 5089.