Skip to main content

Local Government

After thirty years… I still believe change can come

Malcolm Campbell has been farming for almost 70years in the Waikato. He and wife June reared their family in the Waikato and serviced in a number of public offices. His current farm is north of Waihi on the Coromandel Peninisula.
 |  Malcolm Campbell  | 

The Informer Issue 1104 carries the headline we are ‘Becoming More Corrupt.’ We have had thirty years of practice.

Before the Resource Management Act 1991 the office of the Commissioner for The Environment was established.

The first Commissioner was Helen Hughes appointed 1987 and served two five-year terms until 1996. Helen Hughes, observing the consent process ‘required’ to begin a development, noted that wealthy developers were able to ‘buy off’ potential objections by simply paying those people to withdraw their opposition to a project. Geoffrey Palmer and Simon Upton between them steered a law through parliament inviting corruption.

‘Law’ should be ‘precise’ plainly in ‘black and white’ not made up by a multitude of planners, consultants and lawyers according to their opinions, as they go along.

Example: Section 322 of the RMA where an abatement notice is issued, by an ‘enforcement officer’ who in ‘his opinion’ a person has contravened, a resource consent or a rule in a plan or regulations.’ So the ‘enforcement officer’ can issue notices based on his ‘opinion.’ Hope that the officer is in a good mood! After all the deliberations involved with clauses, opinions and sections of the RMA the final answer may be delivered by Upton’s Commissioners or at the last gasp the Environment Court.

Now if you think this is being made up, here is a prime example of this time and money wasting gobble de gook, which someone has to pay for. From the report in 2020 as follows: The ground-breaking Plan Change 1. To improve the water quality in the Waikato and Waipa Rivers was presented to Waikato Regional Councillors at a special meeting. Five Commissioners listened to 359 hours of evidence, reading 1100 submissions, listened to 199 expert appearances, heard evidence from 360 other parties, taking 59 days to do all of this and at the end of it all announcing that some issues may still have to be resolved by the Environment Court.

In summary, 359 hours equates to just over two months of 40-hour weeks, spread over almost three months of real time to arrive at a sort of a decision, that if implemented, allows an eighty-year time frame to improve the water of Waikato, Waipa River system. After thirty years of the RMA, nothing has changed. A paper at the Hamilton Airport in 2000 stated that water in the Waikato was then fit for swimming from the Narrow’s Bridge near the Hamilton Airport all the way to Lake Taupo.

The situation still remains the same. North of Hamilton City, the river water is not really up to swimming standard. You may well say what has this to do with the Coromandel Peninsula?

The lakes at Cooks Beach are already on the way down the path of consultancy, firstly with the TCDC then passed on to a Consultancy Firm in Auckland, and then back to TCDC who has had to hire more technical experts to add to what they have already received. As yet, yet nothing at all has happened to improve the water in the lakes – nothing at all. The consultants and experts will be rubbing their hands, flush with new money flowing in. There is no responsibility for lack of a solution or lack of action.

This wishy-washy palavering is the direct opposite of say hiring an electrician who is expected to repair a fault and the electrician also expects to repair the fault or he will not get paid. This brief example applies to all trade people. So why-o-why did Palmer and Upton subject the productive sector to the whims and fancies of the unproductive? When society becomes totally frustrated, as happened at Whangamata with the incursion of Mangroves in the inner harbour and residents began clearing them; residents were threatened with prosecution.

So if the lakes at Cooks Beach are foul and the foreshore on Buffalo Beach is washing away, do not risk what tiny scrap of liberty is left to you by solving the problem. Truly we are facing corruption from the inside out and from the top down.

See John Veysey’s letter to the editor.