A potpourri of topics today, starting with . . .
Local body representation. This issue continues to heat up, and they'll be plenty of time to discuss it in coming months.
For now, I'd recommend you read the letter from Peter Baker on this page today. There would be some challenges getting a good spread of capable candidates for each ward, but the points raised make you think.
The Waimate District Council has its own issues, most notable being a legal wrangle over work done on a wall of Dash's Garage. The council met last night, but it's certainly got itself in a pickle over something that, from the outside anyway, doesn't appear too major. To have spent $50,000 of ratepayer funds so far, and perhaps more to come, when the whole thing could have been settled for a few hundred dollars, seems remarkable.
Maybe it's over a matter of principle. There are still questions to be answered.
I wasn't quite sure what to think over our picture on the front page yesterday of the large shipment of logs aboard the CS Solaris, apart obviously from the initial reaction of "gosh, what a lot of logs".
They represent good export dollars, are sustainably harvested from local forests, and they provide work for the port. But to see so much raw material shipped overseas without us adding more value just seems wrong.
Can't we be making something from these trees before exporting them?
Also leaving our shores are people, and quite a few of them. Around 300 to 400 a year are shifting to Australia from South Canterbury, which is no great surprise in itself. For all that we enjoy slagging off the Aussies we're quick to go there on holiday and to live, and there's a bit of a glow there just now as the rest of the world struggles with recession.
Of most interest was the number of people returning each year, a quarter to a third of the number leaving. Most commonly that will be for family reasons, but it was higher than I would have thought. Maybe it's not all beer and skittles across the ditch.
Actually it's not here either, with petrol hitting a new high. Not that we seem to care. It was an issue when it first broke through the $2 a litre barrier, but $2.23 doesn't seem to count.
Would it make any difference to say it now costs $53 instead of $47 to drive a small 1.8-litre Toyota Corolla to Christchurch and back? No, probably not.
And finally, news that Federated Farmers has dropped its High Court appeal and the way is clear to declare the Mackenzie Basin an outstanding natural landscape is significant, although most people won't realise it.
There's still a long way to go, and the detail will make the difference, but the beauty of the basin will now have a high level of protection. Good stuff.
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