Ev­ery bite helps

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

Great let­ter from Ge­off Vause (‘Big chal­lenge, big vi­sion, small bites’, North­land Age Fe­bru­ary 7), although I strug­gle with fly­ing fresh or­ganic Hokianga pro­duce to the mar­kets of Europe and the US, an idea that’s con­traindi­cated when one is also talk­ing lower emis­sions, sus­tain­abil­ity and ‘eat lo­cally’ farm­ers’ mar­ket or grow-yourown food.

Cer­tainly or­ganic hor­ti­cul­ture, but why not sup­ply the lo­cal, dis­trict, re­gional and na­tional mar­kets first, and add value be­fore ex­port­ing sec­ond?

The fresh think­ing nowa­days is about less­en­ing our reliance on ex­port mar­kets and over­seas in­vest­ment. About mak­ing it hap­pen here to ben­e­fit ev­ery­one who calls here home.’

My plan B (PLant A Na­tive Bio­fuel) scheme to man­u­fac­ture bio­fuel from nox­ious ex­otic veg­e­ta­tion and pesti­lent weeds har­vested while re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing road re­serve and pri­vate land could be­come a sus­tain­able lo­cal in­dus­try for nearly ev­ery town in the Far North, North­land and Aotearoa New Zealand — sell­ing bio­fuel, fire­wood and other prod­ucts — to im­prove and beau­tify the en­vi­ron­ment and strengthen self­suf­fi­ciency in lo­cal economies while also cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment, skills train­ing and ca­reer path­ways. True re­gional de­vel­op­ment.

Many other peo­ple will have vi­sion­ary ideas too, ones which are not about plant­ing more ex­port pine trees, grow­ing an al­ready sat­u­rated honey-pro­ducer mar­ket or at­tract­ing more tourists.

Ev­ery “small bite” helps. The Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund should be so­lic­it­ing ideas from the gen­eral pub­lic as well as vested in­ter­est groups and, most im­por­tantly, in­cu­bat­ing the best such ideas and nur­tur­ing them to fruition, es­pe­cially in ne­glected pro­vin­cial com­mu­ni­ties. WALLY HICKS

Ko­hukohu

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