Otago Daily Times

‘Scorched earth’ is not an option for Mt Iron


CALLS from property owners for removal of kanuka/manuka from the slopes of Mt Iron due to the (recently) perceived risk of fire (ODT, 5.2.21) are a shameful indictment on the Queenstown Lakes District Council for allowing housing to be erected there in the first place.

That indigenous vegetation has grown on and protected those slopes from natural erosion forces since glaciation receded from the Wanaka Basin. Housing should never have been allowed there, but clearly pressure from developers to create ‘‘exclusive’’ subdivisio­ns won out.

The QLDC’s district plan (and the RMA) has failed miserably in that regard.

One solution might be to remove the houses, given that calls to remove the vegetation will simply cause a far greater problem with soil erosion which could well do that job for them.

A sprinkler system installed on and around houses might be another retrospect­ive option, though not ideal.

This problem is not new and, as we saw at Ohau village (and regularly see in Australia), is not confined to indigenous vegetation.

Any tall shrub and tree cover is susceptibl­e to fire, especially in drier, windier climates. This occurred during the Waikeriker­i Valley and Gorge Creek fires in 1999, and more recently behind Roxburgh (involving burning wild thyme, conifers, broom and gorse, native kanuka and tussock country).

Extensive lifestyle block developmen­t on slopes between Queensbury and Luggate, and at Bendigo, spanning both district councils, has also been consented within substantia­l stands of kanuka. How long before there is a call to remove more of that vegetation, either as pressure comes on for further subdivisio­n and/or the perceived fire risk?

That regenerati­ng native vegetation should be shown some respect and the erosion susceptibl­e soils beneath should be protected from further developmen­t as many farmers are now required to do.

What we do not need is a scorched earth policy.

Dr Barrie Wills


Big Norm

I WISH to challenge Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s statement that ‘‘we have never had a Maori prime minister’’. My fourth cousin, the Right Honourable Norman Kirk, Prime Minister 197274, was significan­tly partMaori, through his mother’s side.

Colin Jury


Coal train protest

ALL power to Bruce Mahalski and his local branch of Extinction Rebellion for their effective civil disobedien­ce event (Letters, 6.2.21) in defence of our most serious, humaninduc­ed climate crisis that clearly threatens the sustainabl­e future of humanity and many ecosystems and biodiversi­ty that also rely on a habitable planet.

Alan Mark Emeritus Professor, University of


Solar energy

I KNOW many rural people who manage a device for converting solar energy into food. It’s called a farm.

Jim Moffat


 ?? PHOTO: THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD ?? Prime Minister Norman Kirk farewells the HMNZS Otago from the Auckland Naval Base in 1973.
PHOTO: THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD Prime Minister Norman Kirk farewells the HMNZS Otago from the Auckland Naval Base in 1973.

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