ECan chairman Steve Lowndes (an elected member, not one of Nick Smith’s original commissioner goon squad like his departed predecessor) is probably correct in saying that an elected ECan before 2019 is unlikely, given the need for preparations such as the drawing of constituency boundaries and the requisite associated public consultation.
But in the interim the Government can still act to start dismantling the regional dictatorship imposed in 2010. In particular, it can – and in this writer’s view it should – repeal the legislative provision whereby ECan decisions cannot be appealed to the Environment Court on environmental grounds but only to the High Court on points of law.
Secondly, if the Government opts to replace commissioner Bedford (and there is a case for not doing so), it has an opportunity to make an appointment that will reflect a greater emphasis on environmental values than ECan has shown since 2010.
Mona Vale fails
On November 13, I went with a friend and a Japanese visitor to Mona Vale hoping to enjoy a classic Christchurch experience of tea on the lawn by the river. We arrived at 3.55pm and were greeted by a sign saying: ‘‘Summer Hours, Monday - Friday, 9am - Late Afternoon’’. We tried to order tea and cakes but were told that the kitchen closed at 3pm and that nothing was available.
Since when has 3pm been ‘‘late afternoon’’? Christchurch promotes itself as a tourist destination but on this occasion Mona Vale fell well short of any acceptable definition of ‘‘providing service to tourists’’.
A school principal says that the reason teachers are leaving is that they need higher pay and less work (don’t we all). She missed out longer holidays. No, I think the reason they only last a short time is the kids they have to teach. Too many of them are undisciplined, rude and lacking in parental guidance.
Also in some cases, if the teachers presented themselves a little better then perhaps they would get the respect we used to accord our teachers, but that’s the old days.
Free trade farce
Was Chris Trotter (Nov 11) implying that we shouldn’t have declared our nation nuclear-free? He gave the impression that we are a tiny, helpless country that must concur with the world’s powerful sectors. The article makes the extraordinary prediction that ‘‘if we say no to the TPP we will drift under the influence of China and Russia’’. How would a decision to protect our sovereignty, increase the opportunities for local businesses and manufacturing, protect workers’ rights and ensure that Pharmac is in control of our medicines cause our helpless ‘‘drift’’?
Two major problems that haven’t received much attention about ‘‘free’’ trade deals are: The need for reciprocity and the lack of control over the health and safety of the providers of the goods. Promoters of the TPP and many in the media seem to imply that trade didn’t exist prior to the relatively recent ‘‘free-trade’’ deals.
Paying the price
In reply to Keith Moyes’ letter last
week about famers price gouging and the knock on effects. Harry Truman (former US President) commented that farmers are the only businesses that buy retail, sell wholesale and pay the freight both ways. Saudi Arabia has chosen not to tax fuel because their government royalties on oil are enough for their finance department to run the country. We are not in this position, butter is not taxed in new Zealand except for GST. Farmers are price takers and not price setters, these are set
further down the supply chain.
I would suggest that Mr Moyes looks at the price farmers receive and the price charged in his local supermarket/dairy for milk or bread. I think he will find that farmers receive only a small proportion of the final price after processing, distribution and retail margin. That some products are sold as ‘‘loss leaders’’ is not a farmer issue.
Michael Salvesen President, Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury
"Farmers are price takers and not price setters, these are set further down the supply chain."
Michael Salvesen, Federated Farmers