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Environment

The common sense of farmers not often in local authorities’ actions

Within our present ‘modus operandi’ there has evolved a culture of fear. I am speaking of a large part of the actions of regional councils and Waikato Regional Council. Any action by any even normally sensible person in agriculture is risking prosecution. Bas Nelis (central Waikato) was prosecuted for clearing a weed infested drain.
 |  Malcolm Campbell  | 

Jacobsen Contracting (Paeroa) received the same treatment and quite recently a farmer (Patetonga District) was clobbered to the tune of $40,000 for similar action and in the Bay of Plenty, a land holder was hit with fines for clearing mangroves from the back of his section to the tide line. The irony of that situation, the Council, after the prosecution, used the path the land holder had cleared to go in and clear mangroves.

Referring to Bas Noeli’s, in that same area, there was a general flood and all along the western side of the range from Matamata to the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, the streams were running thick earth soup.

With this reality, how can Environment Court judges and WRC prosecute for the ‘potential’ of what may enter a stream and may harm the fish.

The floods happened; not potential floods, but very real; as were the consequences of the flood. Farmers have dealt with that for so many years without assistance from any authority.

I had an interest in a North Canterbury property owned by my nephew. The braided river started severely eroding the edge of a farm paddock. Environment Canterbury was alerted. There were a couple of alternatives 1) Lay some large willow logs in front of the erosion to blunt the force of the water. 2) Try to change the main channel of the river further away on the braided riverbed. Nothing was acceptable to E-Can. Now this was a serious situation. The erosion was edging ever closer to a hollow that led straight toward the main street of the local village. In desperation, the bulldozer was used to divert the main river channel into a former channel and problem solved by practical people with now very ‘uncommon’ common sense.

In my last column (The Informer issue 1097) I wrote about the lack of responsibility taken by staff for their plans or for decisions made or for the fact that highly paid consultants have often been proven to be out of touch. Here are a couple of classic instances.

Hot off the press so to speak, the New Zealand Herald Wednesday, 20 March and TVOne News 21 March, reported a branch of the Ashburton River, the Greenstreet Creek, totally dried up. Previously farmers diverted irrigation water into the Greenstreet Creek to save the eels and fish.

However, the farmers needed approval from Environment Canterbury and nobody in Ecan could or would take responsibility and kept passing the buck or deferring a decision that might reveal a misjudgement on their part.  This is is an example of how the Councils ‘Safeguard the life supporting capacity of the Air Soil and Water’ – the purpose of RMA Act. It does not get any better.

After the Cyclone hit the Esk Valley area, some farmers had roading, bridges and culverts washed away and were unable to access parts of their own properties and the same farmers were frightened to effect even temporary repairs for fear of prosecution because they did not have one of these enormously expensive RMA Consents.

Quote: Ayn Rand said: ‘When in order to produce you need to gain permission from those that produce nothing, you will know your society is doomed.’

Addendum: My  response to the letter written by Warren and Margaret a Matthews regarding Halocyfop

Herbicide

Hello from Malcolm Campbell. The informer  editor has passed on you expression of concern. The notice was in the Hauraki Herald, page 13 dated 1 March, 2024. I have cut out of local papers 26 similar notices since August 2022. Five have been issued in 2024 already. They are not all about the estuaries. They cover Hauraki Plains drainage systems, road verges, parks and reserves, footpaths which of course all eventually drain into the Hauraki Gulf.

You may have seen that the Hauraki Gulf Forum has admitted that the water in the gulf has deteriorated in the last three years. These notices usually appear at the last few pages under ‘public notices’.

I watch for them and have them going back to 2013 and had older ones, but just thought too old and dumped them.