TROUT ANGLERS HELP IN THE FRESHWATER STRUGGLE

The New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, whose members have fought for the protection and guardianship of our precious freshwater resource for over forty years, are sickened by Dave Hansford, the pro-1080 blogger, who has chosen to use the freshwater crisis to express his prejudice against introduced species.

As part of National Radio’s ‘Water Fools’ series, Hansford penned an opinion piece ‘Filthy water report: A starting point or an end game?’ in which he states “We must stop worshipping trout and the dollars they bring, and respect instead the right of our native fish to endure.”

Federation spokesperson David Haynes said “ Using freshwater as a vehicle to bitch about trout is, at best, divisive and brings nothing positive to the table.” Haynes continues, “Our members have been boots-on-the-ground for years helping with riparian planting, helping kids get outdoors to learn to fish and actively engaging with central and regional Government, such as ECan,  trying to stop the continued depletion and degradation of our rivers and lakes.  Right now we are supporting an application by the Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust to restore Snake Creek, a tributary of Ellesmere/Te Waihora.  When we try to fix a degraded watercourse, it is for the benefit of the whole ecosystem, of which trout may be just one component.  It is because of our trout that 100,000 people enjoy our freshwater and give a damn about it.”  Trout are a vital component of the diet of native species such as eels, cormorants (shags), herons and numerous native wading birds. A decline in trout numbers can lead to declines in some native species at risk.

Cawthron’s research over many years has shown that trout are far more sensitive to pollution and sediment than our native fish species and hence act as the canary in the coal mine for health of freshwater – when they are no longer present the river health has collapsed.

Trout were first introduced into New Zealand in 1867 and have since become an integral part of the Kiwi outdoors heritage along with game hunting, sea fishing and the right to ‘get a feed for the family.’

 

 

King Salmon Process an Affront to Democracy?

Opinion

King Salmon Process an Affront to Democracy?

by Tony Orman

The King Salmon application for new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds and process reflects an alarming trend towards the dilution, indeed removal, of democracy by government.

A recent  Environmental Defence Society (EDS) press release said “the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has initiated a process to give King Salmon an ‘easy ride’ for approvals for new salmon farms in the protected Outer Marlborough Sounds.”

The Environmental Defence Society further added “MPI is essentially acting as a co-applicant for approvals that will override the Marlborough Council’s plans that prohibit aquaculture development in the Outer Sounds and that protect scenic and landscape values.”

The government’s process EDS described, allows the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy to make regulations that bypass normal RMA processes.  Yet the Marlborough Council is currently reviewing its plans,  the proper place for making decisions about aquaculture.  But it seems government reckons otherwise and knows best.

But does it?

The King Salmon saga will allow a Ministerial decision already backing King Salmon’s commercial interest to override the broader public interest. Worst of all, the locally council, democratically elected and the people of Marlborough are being denied any voice. Well not quite, for submissions are being heard by a panel. Closer scrutiny shows any semblance to true democracy ends. The panel is politically appointed by the Minister, on the advice of MPI bureaucrats.

The Environmental Defence Society agrees saying “The process is a questionable one. It invites people to make written submissions, which will be considered by a panel appointed by government. There is no provision for cross-examination of experts and so the hearing lacks robustness. The panel makes recommendations to the Minister who decides with no rights of appeal (by the public).”

In short, it’s lip service to democracy.

Recently Minister for the Environment Nick Smith took full control of the spreading of ecosystem poisons 1080 and brodifacoum, stripping any say by regional and district councils and therefore the public. Smith argued it was for a more consistent approach. Yet mostly poisons are spread on public lands. The land owners, i.e. the public, now have no voice in the spreading of toxins on their lands.

Two years ago, government allowed foreign mineral and oil companies to drill along the coast and in conservation parks – all public property. Energy minister Simon Bridges signed approval in cavalier fashion so much so that when later asked, he didn’t know where one exploration area, the Lewis Pass’ Victoria Forest Park, was. The public was denied any democratic right to comment.

Recent “reforms” to the Resource Management Act similarly weaken the people’s voice. Again power in the regions has been diluted but dramatically increased in central government. The changes are not about reforming and improving law; they are about concentrating total power and control in central government and its individual ministers. The changes essentially weaken laws about such vital matters as controlling urban sprawl and protecting rivers and streams (already degraded or under threat) and coastal areas such as the Marlborough Sounds..

The late John F Kennedy US president once wrote, “The race between education and erosion, between wisdom and waste, has not run its course. Each generation must deal anew with the raiders, the scramble to use public resources for private profit. and with the tendency to prefer short-run profits to long-term necessities.”

The scramble by the raiders is on.

People are becoming more and more aware of the increasing worldwide ecological crisis. One fact is undeniable – the earth carries many times too many people for both resources and environmental well-being. In New Zealand, the first Europeans established an egalitarian society of social equality, where resources were public. The alternative to this society is to allow vital elements alienated into private hands by private deals for private profits.

Basically that deal is underway with King Salmon. King Salmon’s farm occupies public seabed space for which no rates nor rental is paid.

New Zealand vital resources, essentially owned by the public, in land, water, soil, forest and the public domain generally, must be jealously guarded by New Zealanders that is if we cannot expect our elected representatives in Parliament to look after the public interest.

It is only proper that laws pertaining to the environment and public resources should allow the public full and proper voice. Any commercial exploitation of any public resource should be open to scrutiny and challenge.

Massive power is concentrated in corporates. The corporates woo weak politicians and power-hungry political parties with substantial party donations. Yet ironically the people expect elected representatives to protect the public good.

But when those elected representatives weaken or remove the public’s right to exercise scrutiny and challenge, then it’s a sad day indeed.

Democracy is under severe stress.

Footnote: Tony Orman is a former town and country planner with the former Marlborough County Council.

 

 

 

 

Happening to a river near you

NZFFA Exec member John Collins hosted Adrienne Lomax of the Waiora Ellesmere Trust (WET) at a meeting of the Christchurch Fishing and Casting Club recently.

Her presentation was a good reminder to me that in engaging the issues that really affect fishing and fishing clubs we too often feel that we are forced into an aggressive-defensive situation shrouded in frustration.

How we are dealing with what happened to the former world class fishery of the Selwyn River, and about to happen to a river near you, is a classic example of adversarial “frustrationology” in practice. We hope to bring about enough political pressure, by beating enough drums, to force change by legislative means. We may well succeed but look at the video on the links supplied by Adrienne and reflect.

If you do nothing else this week that somebody like me has suggested; then make it this viewing.

Hart’s Creek is the major tributary of the lake at the southern end. If the links don’t work the just search You tube.

Here’s a link to the Harts Creek video – happy for you to share with anyone who may be interested.   If you want to download it, the button is in the top right hand corner of the page.  It’s a very big file in MP4 format and will play in windows media player or similar.

The video is also on YouTube and the link is on our website   http://www.wet.org.nz/resources/videos/

 

Contact Adrienne Lomax, Waihora Ellesmere Trust General Manager, 021 052 9720

PO Box 198, Tai Tapu 7645, Canterbury, NZ
manager@wet.org.nz
www.wet.org.nz

Water Not For Sale

Water and rivers surely is destined to become a major election issue at this year’s election And rightly so because water is so vital for us all whether town or country. It therefore is important that all New Zealand pursues a policy to have “sustainable” use of water and that essential quantity for the ecosystem and essential quality is maintained and in some cases restored.

One aspect which must be paramount in debate is not let water go the way of fishing quotas where quotas are tradable. Your last issue featured about the flaws in the tradable quota fisheries system.

Being tradable opens the way – as has happened in fisheries – for bigger players, i.e. corporate companies to buy up smaller players’ allocation and thus emerge as monopolies in the use of the resource.  Despite the self promotion by MPI that our fisheries quota system is the envy of other countries it has been revealed to be seriously flawed. No wonder fish stocks are often struggling. However the offenders, corporate companies wield strong political influence by way of donations to political parties resulting in their interests being paramount rather than the best public interest. Above all the resource suffers from mismanagement.

It is imperative that water not be allowed to become a victim of “wheeling and dealing.”

Each election year the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations (CORANZ) puts out an election charter which is sent to political parties. Water and rivers feature strongly. One is that “residual flow must be adequate for wildlife and fish and recreation such as fishing, swimming, canoeing etc.” Water is for multiple use by the community at large.

Despite John Key’s nonchalant shrug that “water belongs to no one” line, water belongs to the people. Water is essentially a public resource, regardless of wealth, ethnicity or social class. Law should be enacted now to make it crystal clear that water cannot be sold and hocked off to the highest bidder.

Andi Cockroft

Co-chairman CORANZ