Council told to put people first
A Tokoroa-based lawyer challenged South Waikato District Council last week to ‘‘look after the people first’’ during the Clean Air Bylaw hearings.
Marin Glucina said the social wellbeing of the community should be the council’s main priority.
‘‘My main question is, can a little town like this afford to drain out the general population, large sums of money to achieve something which is fairly nebulous. The problem which is trying to be addressed is excessive particles in the air for a few mornings during our cold, clear winters.’’
He went on to say: ‘‘I put it to the councillors, to look at the picture on a wider basis, not trying to tick a box [to] be environmentally friendly and get some brownie points with people in Wellington. Look after the people first.’’
Mr Glucina said to satisfy the requirement to have several extra clean air days during the winter and sacrifice the health of the community was immoral.
‘‘It needs to have a wider cost benefit analysis: what’s this going to cost people.’’
He told councillors if the bylaw was passed, there would still be woodburners in town, damp wood being used and particles emitted.
‘‘What will happen is that people will have taken out their wood burner. But that isn’t initially going to help anyone, it has got social downsides, money being extracted from poor people and houses being significantly colder.
‘‘ You are going to have increases in admissions to hospital with children who are suffering from respiratory diseases due to mildew on walls.’’
At the submission’s conclusion, Mayor Neil Sinclair said: ‘‘ So you are accepting that okay it’s council’s duty to produce a safe and healthy community?’’
Mr Glucina responded by saying, ‘‘It is, but safe and healthy community means not only less smoke in the air but warm bedrooms, showers (and) hot water.’’
Mr Sinclair added that 10 years ago members of the community did not know what a PM10 was.
Mr Glucina told Mr Sinclair that, that was not the issue.
‘‘Going back to the main issue. I know that council isn’t going to pay power bills to those people who have had wetbacks taken out and have had to put a hot water cylinder in. That’s going to be out of their own pocket, ’’ he said.