Letters to the editor
Several years ago I despaired of being able to live a healthy life among Marlborough's grapes.
It was clear there were two issues not addressed by the council and grower organisations. They were being kept awake at night and unabated spray drift.
However, with a concerted campaign by rural residents against noise that has lasted eight years, we have noise rules that will ensure sleep in years to come when noisy two-bladed frost machines wear out.
The issue of spray drift remains. Numerous times this year I have driven through a cloud of spray across the road. The rules say no spraying when the wind is over 15kmh, but the council chooses to enforce a spraying wind limit of 15kmh that is an average. This is a sad joke, as the gusts blow the spray everywhere. A 15kmh averaged wind can gust up to and beyond 30kmh.
It is time for the grape industry and the council to do something themselves, without the incentive of protests from rural and sometimes urban residents.
There is a solution to spray drift that has come about by the invention of recirculating spray units. These are used by the vineyard beside me and, even with the sun behind them, I see no drift.
The solution is to reduce the wind limit allowed in vineyards to zero for open machines and increase that allowed for the recirculating sprayers.
It is time for these two bodies to critically look to the health of Marlborough's residents without fighting it every step of the way.
I am a stranger to these columns, but a ministerial statement followed by a damned close shave on the water has made me hopping mad.
Gerry Brownlie said: "I am advised there would be nothing to be gained by licensing recreational boatmen, as it would do nothing to reduce boating fatalities."
Ignorance in small craft continues to kill innocent people throughout summer, for all manner of stupid reasons, such as overloading coupled with the absence of life jackets.
My son lives in Geraldton, West Australia, where every boatman is licensed and the vessel is registered. He is drilled in a basic set of necessities to which he must adhere under a system that has a lot of merit to copy.
So what made me so hopping mad?
On Saturday, I boated to Havelock. It was a fine morning and the waterway was full of happy boats of all shapes, speeds and sizes.
There are new markers at the Havelock end, each one clearly painted in red for port and green for starboard.
At Cullen Point, on a bend at a starboard marker, two boats approached me moving at good speed. One boat was well out, giving me at least 40 metres of sea between it and the marker, but the other boat was hard up against the marker, which gave me three bad choices: take a deep breath and go between them, cut across the second boat and go inside the marker, or stop and hope. I did the latter.
The skipper of Addiction needs to buy a copy of Safety in Small Craft and read the chapter on "road" rules, the relevant section being the port-to-port passing rule.
Do we need recreational skipper licensing? You bet we do.
- The Marlborough Express