Letters to the editor
On Close Up last week I heard a Christchurch City councillor say that statistics show cycling as a recreational pastime in New Zealand has halved. I would have to agree with that as I travel about our town and note the absence of cyclists. I almost never see any on the cycle lane north of the Coathanger and the cycleway to Riverlands School has been a bit of a fizzer in spite of the trumpeting of the cycle lobby in our council of how great it would be. Sort of makes a ratepayer wince at the low return on our “investment” on these personal agendas.
As an aside, I recall the mayor effectively saying that because of the ratepayer/retailer resistance to the so-called pocket park and the fiscal downturn, the council would have a rethink on the project.
So, as a red herring, some minion comes up with the idea of trees in Grove Rd and other thoughts costing hundreds of thousands.
It worked. While we were trying to get our heads round this load of old rope, the purveyors of bad social engineering flew in the face of public opinion and called tenders for the destruction of a car park we want to keep and the construction of a park we don't want.
I never cease to be amazed by the two faces of our elected representatives. One, pre-election, promises progress tempered by restraint, and another one, post-election, deaf and blind to all but their own agendas.
Democracy? Yeah, right.
King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne and his company indeed have a major problem explaining the deaths of many thousands of farmed salmon. At the same time they are attempting to get approval for more salmon farms, over-riding the council's resource management plan for the Marlborough Sounds.
He really should look back over his utterances of late and realise that, when one is in a hole, one should stop digging.
The plain fact is that large numbers of fish died. Unfortunate for them, unfortunate for King Salmon and unfortunate for the Sounds. Unless the cause can be identified beyond doubt, who can really say it is safe?
Right to be heard
In response to correspondence from Aaron Goodwin [letters, Express, August 16], I agree with his statement that “the institution of marriage predates history". The church does not claim ownership over marriage, but has the right and, I believe, the responsibility along with others to protect the institution of marriage as it has always been, and that is between a man and a woman.
So far as his interpretation of section 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993 goes, you can call black white but it will still be darkness.
To his naming of individuals with opposing views to his own (he left my name out), and accusing them/us of having “ignorant insights", he should be aware that when he points his finger at others, three are pointing back at him.
Finally, in regard to his comment about the church imposing its will on the state, the church has the right to be heard.
Speak up, church, and exercise that right.
JACK (DUSTY) MILLER
My rates have gone up over 50 per cent. This is complete nonsense.
Every three years, independent value assessor QV Ltd revalues properties in Marlborough and those values are used to set rates within each geographic rating area.
A council spokeswoman said this meant there was only an indirect relationship between the new value of a property and the movement in the rates bill.
What set how much the bill increased - or in some cases, decreased - depended on how the value of a property moved compared with the average movement of value within a geographic rating area.
If the council used the same calculation then the rates would go down with a property devaluation. It is the council, not QV that are at fault here - they are the ones tinkering with the calculations.
I do not believe they can justify this level of increase. If they do not fix it, I will be forced to sell.
What can we do?
I am amazed the Department of Conservation plans to air-drop 1080 around Ship Cove for possums. DOC dropped 1080 only a few years ago.
Back in the 1980-90s, I worked for the Marlborough District Council on possum work, with a close knowledge of the area. DOC wouldn't use 1080 then because of the danger to bird life. Ground hunting (cyanide) was used instead.
Note 1080 was first developed about 1920 as an insecticide. Because it kills anything from invertebrates (eg insects) to animals, it is non-selective. Research in the 1990s showed 1080 killed invertebrates responsible for forest floor litter decomposition, thereby causing abnormal litter buildup. In short, it stifled the ecosystem.
The 1080 is a secondary killer; a bird pecking at a poisoned carcass gets 1080. So 1080 kills birds. Curious birds like weka, robins etc will peck baits, thus get directly poisoned. Ironically, wekas prey on native snails - the natural order of things.
I doubt DOC's possum problem. Even if there are too many possums, the area is easily traversed and ground hunting using encapsulated cyanide should be used. Cyanide is selective (kills mostly only possums) and is not a secondary killer.
The Queen Charlotte track combined with boat access gives easy access for ground hunting.
In any case, by using 1080, DOC will generate an explosion of the fast-breeding rat in 12 to 18 months which will prey on birds and snails. It's well documented. Sheer stupidity.
I am aghast at the careless and cavalier attitude of the Department of Conservation in aerially dropping 1080 poison at Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds.
The Sounds are a beautiful asset and a recreational and tourist mecca for all New Zealanders.
Many like me visit it.
I note DOC says "Ship Cove is one of the most visited areas in the Sounds". Yes, the Queen Charlotte Track is there, giving easy foot access. Boat access is also easy.
In addition it is not rugged country, easily walked.
Why, therefore, cannot ground hunting of possums be done, preferably using cyanide instead of 1080, which kills everything which comes in contact with it?
Is it not time the Marlborough District Council turned down the resource consent to drop 1080 and demanded DOC get its act together and use ground hunting - if, indeed, a possum "problem" exists?
- The Marlborough Express