Letters to the editor
Bruce Wills' comments ["Farmers' leader optimistic for future", Express, July 11] deserve a response.
I would contend that New Zealand exports are no more sustainable than Australia's.
The paltry receipts we earn from unprocessed wood make the sustainability of forestry suspect.
The unsustainability of modern farming must be acknowledged. Phosphate fertilisers continue to be mined and imported; nitrate fertilisers inexorably pollute our table waters; water usage relative to milk produced is excessive (selling bottled water could be a higher net earner); ruminant methane emissions are an inevitable and unsustainable byproduct.
Fish stocks are predicted to be depleted within 40 years, a trend New Zealand can do little about on the world scene.
To cap all this is the proven fact that animal proteins and fats are the basic cause of all our costly ailments, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, obesity and arthritis, the management of which is economically unsustainable.
I suggest that our situation is no more secure than Australia, when they have "dug up all the ground". I don't know what our alternatives are, but I sure do know that we should wake up to what our problems are.
With the recently announced restructuring of KiwiRail to separate the land assets of the New Zealand Railways Corporation from the rest of the company, the Government should consider creating a rail structure similar to Britain's. The track and infrastructure of KiwiRail should be kept with the Railways Corporation, as the rail network itself should not be expected to make a profit, as it cannot realistically do so.
Expecting KiwiRail to make a profit while being fully responsible for the costs of the network is like expecting bus and trucking companies to pay for the full cost of maintaining the roading network as part of their business.
The rail network should be considered an essential asset of the country, just as roads are, and the Railways Corporation should be structured and run similar to the NZ Transport Agency - managing and maintaining the network.
KiwiRail could then run as a profit-making rail operator business, paying a fee for using the tracks, while the independent Railways Corporation could potentially allow other rail operators to use the rail network - the same as in Britain.
I have written to the Environmental Protection Authority out of frustration with its process.
I sat and started sieving through King Salmon's expert witness CD.
It took all day just to read the planner's report.
Based on that, it will take me 30 days to read all the expert evidence, and I have a two-week deadline.
A guy from the Sounds with no computer rang to tell me he had gone to town to read the evidence at the library - there were four large ringbinders-full.
This is on top of the 6000-page application.
I don't like to admit this, but I am completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of this application.
I am nobody's fool, but this is beyond my capacity to absorb, disseminate and comprehend.
Given time and advice, I probably could, but when reading all this material, I don't even understand the language.
How can this be right?
This EPA process seems to have been designed for experts and lawyers - the language, technical complexity and enormous volume of evidence is way too much for laypeople and community groups to comprehend, and if we don't have a budget like the applicant and can't afford the legal team and army of expert witnesses, then we just cannot defend our public common, our rights, laws, lands and privileges.
Big business owns this process by throwing enormous amounts of money at lawyers, planners, consultants, media firms and sponsorships that buy favour and stifle community opposition.
The huge advertising budgets buy the favour of newspaper editors. When the community loses access to the media, we are screwed.
The biggest crime against the New Zealand public by this process has been the short time frame, which has limited the community's effectiveness.
- The Marlborough Express