Coun­cil told to put peo­ple first

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

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