Letters : The price of lamb

Clifford Bay

As Marlborough people squirm under yet another Government non-decision over the Clifford Bay question, I notice that even 111 years ago politicians were promoting schemes to change the ferry terminals.

On January 12, 1901, the Wellington Evening Post had a headline: "A ferry service across Cook Strait. An important scheme."

The Minister for Trade and Customs at the time, the Hon C H (Charles) Mills, wanted to move not the Picton terminal, but the Wellington one. He wanted to build a wharf at Titahi Bay near Porirua, only an hour's drive from Wellington, so the ferries could take the northern entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound, thus avoiding the difficult entrance to Tory Channel.

The paper quoted Mr Mills' opinion that the crossing would then be "an hour and a half less time than they take in travelling the present route, and moreover they could make the journey in all weathers in comparatively smooth water".

He apparently had forgotten about the Cook Strait crossing being notoriously rough.

Maritime decisions should be made by mariners, surely?

Although at the time even the North Island main trunk railway wasn't finished, and the South Island had many decades to completion, Mr Mills spoke bravely about travelling all the way from Bluff to Auckland.

He evidently wasn't able to convince Wellington to give up its ferry terminal.


Karaka Point

Frost fighting

Once again we have had an interrupted night's sleep because helicopters were used for frost protection. Might I suggest one of your reporters does some investigative delving into the issue of frost protection methods.

A quick perusal of the internet shows that there are a number of alternative, neighbour-friendly (ie, quiet) devices, which are already in use around the world.

One, in particular, that caught my eye was a vertical "chimney". It has been in use for at least a decade and appears to be reasonably cheap to run.

A comparison with other countries' frost-protection methods would possibly prove interesting too.

I hope I do not see yet another article starting off with words about vineyard owners suffering sleepless nights, with no mention of the rest of us.



Post boxes

It appears that the relocated post boxes at the postal centre in Blenheim are there to stay, which means further away from the Post Shop again.

While counter staff are willing to accept articles for post, that quite often involves a long wait in the queue.

Would it be possible to locate a portable post box for letters only within the Post Shop complex, more so with the Christmas deluge looming?



Salmon diet

Grant Rosewarne and Ben Wybourne's response to Ian Rogers' statements regarding the contents of their salmon diet gave us all a good snapshot of how they build their fish, and we, the customer, will make our own decisions about what we are comfortable with consuming with that information.

The main opposition, however, to this proposal has never been about the product, but where they want to carry out their farming, and the long-term consequences of this farming practice on the Sounds environment.

There is no doubt the imported feed mix put together by Skrettings has the attributes to grow bigger, fatter salmon more quickly, but these feeds do have a proven downside, and New Zealand King Salmon's waste streams are flushed away to the sea floor.

This is an indisputable fact. Both the poultry and pork industries, who use similar feeds in their production, are required to collect and treat these same waste streams before they are introduced to the environment. This is a common-sense approach used by these other food industries.

But to do what NZ King Salmon does at present and wishes to expand on, which is to use the Sounds as a waste management system, makes it a dirty farmer.



Price of lamb

Today I received a price list of New Zealand lamb as offered by Handelshof, a German food and drink retailer.

The prices show that we would be better off buying our lamb in Germany. Their prices are well below the price offered in New Zealand and that in spite of the 12,000-kilometre supply chain from here to Germany.

Do not forget that German incomes are nearly double ours.

So again, the New Zealand consumer is subsidising our exports - in one way very good, but not very good if you consider how many people are struggling to put decent food on the table.

Food for thought.



Trawling in Sounds

It is with much anger and frustration that I write to you about the fishing trawlers in Port Underwood.

As a longtime homeowner in Hakana Bay, we have never seen the bay apparently robbed and stripped of every kind of fish as it has been lately. The trawler has made at least 40 passes of the bay that we are aware of.

Surely in these enlightened times, this is neither acceptable nor sustainable. We, as well as other holiday-home owners, are so fed up with it, especially as we are not even able to put out a small set net to feed our families.

I do understand that the commercial fishermen are allowed to trawl in the port, but there is a vast difference between a trawl now and then and the apparent stripping of the place completely.

We want some answers from the Ministry of Fisheries as well as the Greens, I expect, about why this behaviour is still allowed.



The Marlborough Express