Yesterday the HB Regional Council — you remember, the Councillors charged with protecting the region’s environment and natural resources — decided its stance on a new National Policy Standard on Freshwater Management. This proposal aims at strengthening water protections, and was initiated by the late dearly departed Labour Government. It is now out for public consultation.

The position of our regional environmental leaders: “Tell ’em to stuff it!” (A rhetorical replay of the Council’s position on new healthy air standards … do we see a pattern here?!)

Surely there are refinements to the proposed National Standard that are needed to make it an effective and more exacting policy directive. That’s what the consultation process is all about.

But that’s precisely what our Regional Council (with the exception of Councillor Remmerswaal) does not want to see — an effective national policy directive. The simple truth: the HBRC does not want to be instructed on what to do about water management and quality by Wellington. Instead, the Council wants maximum latitude to conduct business as usual … which means shovel those water extraction consents out the door and “study” water quality issues until the cows come home.

In fact, what the HBRC really wishes is that the new team in Wellington will simply abandon the very idea of a national policy standard. To that end, Councillor Scott, not to be outdone on the “let’s trash the national standard” bandwagon, proposed, and the Council approved (Remmerswaal dissenting), the idea of dealing with the subject, instead, through the re-writing of the Resource Management Act (RMA) that the National-led Government has begun. This is, of course, a strategy grounded in the assumption that National’s RMA re-write will result in a weaker RMA.

The rhetoric from the Regional Council about treating water as a strategic priority increasingly seems to be just that … rhetoric.

Tom Belford

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3 Comments

  1. I repeat my earlier comment [ from a few years ago actually]

    with the exception of Dear Liz :

    "throw them out".

    But it's not going to happen unless 'we' get off our nono's and 'make some waves".[again].

  2. Mayor Yule has not addressed adequately the fragmentaion of Flaxmere,and a Flaxmere driven community stretegic plan to assist with activities and social networking, to offfer some alternatives to releave boredom. Eleanor Eyles has seen through the mayors attempt to sell the new sports park as "a park for all people " and penny pinch adequate resources required for Flaxmere.

    Anyway new Government legislation to support " three strikes are you are out" expensive Boot Camps away from whanau, new prison or prisons on the drawing board.we can but assume that retributive justice and punishment is still alive and well.-and has been a successful vote catcher, in the last election," so who now cares about social reform?."

    Restorative Justice which already offers some hope for both victims and offenders, lacks support fom local leadership because the process is about building relationships through patience.and acceptance

    Restorative Justice, over a number oy years has been successful is assisting Ireland to work through some longstanding predjuice.-why not in Flaxmere, and Maraenui ?

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