I think most people expect central and local government to play by the rules they set.
Recently, Fish and Game and the Environmental Defence Society had to go to court to test whether Horizons Regional Council was doing so in terms of what it was allowing intensive farmers to do.
And the court found the regional council severely wanting.
The court found that the council’s processes were not consistent and transparent, and that the declarations were necessary to protect the integrity of the One Plan and the community’s confidence in council decision-making.
It went on to say that the council was unresponsive to concerns expressed about the way it was implementing the plan and that ‘‘such an attitude on the part of a law-making and law-administrating body is not acceptable’’.
This is pretty damning stuff for the council. It’s been found to be ignoring its own rules about nutrient leaching (which ultimately pollutes the rivers). It has pretty much been giving out consents to allow intensive dairying to continue polluting catchments identified as already polluted.
It wasn’t requiring farmers to provide the information as it should have and then it wasn’t assessing their applications properly.
Seems like this is a case of too many vested interests on the regional council trying to protect the status quo rather than requiring the reductions in pollution that are needed to restore the Manawatu River to an acceptable state.
Not good enough Horizons. Chris Teo-Sherrell, Palmerston North
The Manawatu River near Ashhurst.