China Week tri­umph

Nelson Mail - - COMMENT&OPINION -

Through the let­ters col­umn of the Nel­son Mail, we would like to thank the organisers of China Week for such a var­ied, in­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive ar­ray of events, dis­plays and demon­stra­tions. The con­cert of per­form­ing arts put on by two vis­it­ing pri­mary school groups from China was a high­light for us, and peo­ple don’t know what they missed by not at­tend­ing this won­der­ful evening’s en­ter­tain­ment.

Nel­son is for­tu­nate in­deed to have had such an il­lus­tri­ous pi­o­neer, Appo Hoc­ton, who ar­rived here 175 years ago and be­came the first Chi­nese per­son to be nat­u­ralised in New Zealand. He was a very busy set­tler, build­ing sev­eral cot­tages in Hast­ings St, own­ing prop­erty in Tory and Brook Streets, own­ing a bul­lock team which helped form Trafal­gar St, and be­ing in­volved in busi­ness here - so Nel­son’s links with China started a long time ago, and con­tinue to this day. ques­tion­able as­pects to the TDC pro­posal. Coun­cil­lors have to be ab­so­lutely 100 per cent cer­tain that the Man­aged Aquifer Recharge (MAR), will do ex­actly what TDC are pre­dict­ing. To get suf­fi­cient recharge in to the Waimea plains aquifers is the sin­gle most cru­cial fac­tor, if that does not hap­pen then the whole thing is a very ex­pen­sive white ele­phant.

It is well known that MARis by no means an ex­act sci­ence, you do not need to be a hy­drol­o­gist to ap­pre­ci­ate that a num­ber of fac­tors in­flu­ence whether a worth­while amount of wa­ter can per­co­late into an aquifer solely from wa­ter flow­ing down a small river bed. The cru­cial ques­tion is, ‘‘can the Waimea plains aquifers ac­cept a suf­fi­cient vol­ume of wa­ter at a suf­fi­cient rate dur­ing a dry spell, to keep up with the an­tic­i­pated draw off?’’

If the sit­u­a­tion is go­ing to be as dire as pre­dicted, surely it is the height of reck­less stu­pid­ity to have the bulk of pre­cious stored wa­ter flow past the aquifers out sea. the pub­lic’s right to know what coun­cil is do­ing in the ratepay­ers’ name, is con­cern­ing.

The use of ‘‘work­shops’’ al­low coun­cil ad­min­is­tra­tion to present the in­for­ma­tion and con­sul­tants they want elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to hear to gain the pre­de­ter­mined re­sult with­out pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, coun­cil­lors seem only too happy to force the res­i­dents to do the work that they are get­ting paid to do. Ratepay­ers must then live with the bad and costly de­ci­sions that are the end re­sult of ma­nip­u­lated coun­cil pro­cesses. The same sort of process is be­ing used re­gard­ing the $5 mil­lion that NCC in­tends to give the Waimea Dam project, as well as next year’s an­nual plan fund­ing. Such du­bi­ous process has been re­sult­ing in hugely es­ca­lat­ing costs for ratepay­ers. The pub­lic needs to be vig­i­lant re­gard­ing coun­cil’s agenda. As Lo­cal Govern­ment New Zealand has re­cently pointed out, the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship of Nel­son coun­cil is con­tent to es­ca­late costs re­gard­less of the abil­ity of the ratepay­ers to af­ford rate in­creases. En­vi­ron­men­tal Flow is bla­tant and de­ceit­ful pro­pa­ganda.

The cor­rect def­i­ni­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal flow is ‘‘the low­est level of nat­u­ral flow a river is al­lowed to sus­tain at which river wa­ter ab­stracters must de­sist from their ab­strac­tion.’’

The cur­rent ma­jor ab­stracters of wa­ter di­rectly from the river and its trib­u­taries are the NCC Rod­ing wa­ter sup­ply and Waimea East Ir­ri­ga­tion. The newly de­rived low flow re­quire­ments are a prob­lem for those par­ties and those par­ties alone to solve.

The no­tion that ratepay­ers fund build­ing a dam to put wa­ter in a river that na­ture never was go­ing to is ex­trav­a­gant folly bor­der­ing on in­san­ity.

The is­sue of wa­ter aug­men­ta­tion for ir­ri­ga­tion for dry and very dry years is a prob­lem for ir­ri­ga­tors alone to solve and pay for in full and with­out sub­sidy by ratepay­ers. This is called in­sur­ance – ratepay­ers don’t pay Nel­son Pine’s or Tal­ley’s in­sur­ance bills, nor should they. The is­sue of aug­ment­ing sup­ply of wa­ter for retic­u­la­tion is for the wa­ter ratepay­ers to solve and even­tu­ally pay for in full and the wis­est way for­ward on this would be a joint ven­ture be­tween NCC and TDC.

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