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What happened to one A4 page proposals with a budget attached?

By Malcolm Campbell.

The previous week’s copy of ‘The Informer’ referred to the Waikato Regional Council 300 page Coastal Plan now open for submissions. The Regional Council are top planners. In the lead up to the Waikato Regional Plan, the Council staff in the late 1990’s managed to issue over 2,300 pages of planning discussion documents. One of them, ‘The Water Module’ was a massive book of 600 pages of detail, which was not really suitable for bedtime reading.

Copious pages of plans have not stopped the environment deteriorating

Now again, there is yet another document dealing with the Coastal Plan this time reported to be 300 pages. Apparently the 600 page ‘Water Module’ failed to have any useful effect. The ‘Hauraki Gulf Forum’ has reported that the water quality in the Hauraki Gulf has deteriorated over the last three years. With all of this planning and supposed research into the problems with water and multiple plans, how could this happen? On top of this, rural people are to draw up a ‘Fresh Water Farm Plan’.

This Coastal Plan is another example of ‘Top-Down Planning’ and it is crystal clear that effectively after 25years of the Resource Management Act, the Environment is now in a worse state than ever before. The recently defeated Labour Government have just passed into law RMA replacement legislation, another deluge of regulations reported to be 900 pages long.

When the RMA was enacted, the submission process dragged on and on. The Act passed into law in 1991, but with transition plans and appeals and hearings, it was not really effective until the late 1990’s. Should the ‘Natural and Built Environment Act’ ushered into Law by past Minister for the Environment, David Parker, remain in force’ there will be another round of transitional plans plus hearings with ‘expert witnesses’ coining the money.

There have been a number of articles in the press detailing the worsening environment and the Regional Councils have no answers other than to blame the public. Some examples printed in those articles referred to the falling insect populations, declining whitebait numbers, declining duck populations, herbicides in the ground water and poisons in the soil and so on.

Clearly the ‘Life supporting capacity of the Air, Soil and Water’ has not been ‘Safeguarded’ nor the ‘Promotion of Sustainable Development’ although the authorities believe more of the same will lead to better outcomes. The one thing that is absolutely certain is the public will pay and pay.

Leave the last word to Albert Einstein. ‘You cannot expect the people who created the problem to solve the problem’.

Caption: On the left, the Waikato Regional Council documents and on the right, the Matamata Piako District Council documents while I am holding the Resource Management Act. The RMA is over 400 pages long.

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