On Tuesday, about 125 people showed up to be briefed and comment upon the Government’s proposals for new freshwater policy and somewhat overlapping Resource Management Act changes.

While I would quarrel with calling many of these changes ‘reforms’, which is the Government’s preferred sales speak, the briefings were effectively delivered by Ministry for the Environment reps.

Over two hours plus, the format permitted ample questioning and commenting from the audience, which revealed considerable discontent with the Regional Council’s consultation practices and — based on that experience — skepticism about the Government’s plans to write into law a “collaborative” decision-making process.

T’was a pity that notably missing from the meeting and discussion were any representatives from the Regional Council, with the sole exception of Councillor Remmerswaal. Obviously she didn’t receive the Council’s ‘Do Not Attend’ memo!

Following this briefing a second two-hour meeting was held. This one provided the opportunity for focused interaction on the same issues between the MfE reps and Maori hapu and marae leaders assembled by Ngati Kahungunu (NKII). The session demonstrated that NKII has been working hard on its water policy stance.

Absent also from this meeting, HBRC received negative reviews (although the Government and the Hastings Council received their share of criticism as well).

Both sessions would have provided HBRC with important feedback on its modus operandi. One might have assumed that a responsive and accountable Council would want at least to get a sense of the public pulse.

However, our Regional Council has zero interest in nonsense like critical feedback.

Their absence tells it all.

Tom Belford

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  1. I am disapointed to read I have missed the meeting on Water.So it is not only council members who should and would have attended. New Zealanders are not being notified of meeting on this or this Constitution Treaty suggestions being circulated. How come Maori get notification and us normal New Zealanders have to dig to find these meetings. We New Zealanders need to be active in these discussions.Why isnt there more notification.

  2. Barry,
    the answer to your question about meeting notification is contained in a recently released book called “Twisting the Treaty, A Tribal Grab for Wealth and Power”, by Tross Publishing.
    Particularly, chapters 2, 12, 13 and 14 give good background to understanding what is going on.
    The whole book is well worth the price.

  3. Thanks for the feedback on the meeting Tom. Like a number of people have commented to me I was working at the time they were held and was unable to attend.

  4. Although many New Zealanders attended I’m sure a great deal missed the notice. The lack of communication goes hand in hand with the length of time given to submit a reply to the proposed reforms i.e. a typical strategy of BS consultation.

    Maori or us ‘ad-normal New Zealanders’ as insinuated (ironic giving the meaning of maori) find out just like everyone else. In turn I personally sent an email notice to over 200 people who I thought might have been interested and Tangata whenua organised a prior meeting in a short space of time, with not all represented. There are other avenues for all New Zealanders (normal or not) to meet and receive notification of such important public discussions but, then again “guess who didn’t show up?”

    I assure you tāngata whenua, iwi, hapu or whānau, didn’t ‘write the book’ on ‘Grab for Wealth and Power’. Let’s concentrate on the issue, that which Tom states continuously “our” environment is deteriorating.

  5. Thanks, Ian for advice on the book I shall certainly purchase a copy. There is a lot of truth in the name of the book. regards Barry

  6. Te Ao Marama,

    with regard to your last paragraph, the names of the authors of the book I referred to are on the front cover of that book. There are six of them and I did not see the point in listing them all. The shortened “consultation” times are probably because the government coalition has a particular agenda. Whether that agenda has really got anything to do with improving the environment is certainly the important issue, I agree.

  7. Barry James,
    I suggest you borrow from you library the 3rd edition of “Healing our History,The Challenge of The Treaty 0f Waitangi” by Robert Consedine of Waitangi Ass,Ch.Ch.
    Supported by the late Sir Paul Reeves and Michael King with Claudia Orange 17.000 books sold.

  8. Pat Magill,
    why don’t you research the activities of the ‘Mawhera Incorporation’ which collects rent “on behalf” of many Maori land owners on the West Coast of the South Island. I am proud of my stepfather, who was physically thrown out of a meeting of that organisation when he went to protest about the confiscation of his family share. At least he was bright enough to see what was going on and man enough to make his feelings known in person.

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