The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS -

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 the Manawatu Whanganui 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-ad­min­is­ter­ing body is not ac­cept­able’’.

This is pretty damming 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 in catch­ments iden­ti­fied as al­ready pol­luted. It wasn’t re­quir­ing farm­ers to pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion 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

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