Time to pull back

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Ed­i­tor,

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.

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