Water package not locked in
The Government’s wide-ranging freshwater action plan is not locked in, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.
‘‘We’re open to ideas and flexibility,’’ O’Connor told Stuff, adding that the points outlined in a discussion document were proposals.
‘‘A discussion document is just that – nothing is locked in, and nothing is kind of etched in stone.’’
While the objectives of stopping further degradation and restoring polluted waterways within a generation were clear, the feedback on the discussion document would help to determine how those objectives were achieved, O’Connor said.
‘‘Clear guidelines had to be put so that things can be discussed, and whether they are adjusted and retained is part of the whole submissions process.’’
Indications were that about 1000 ‘‘substantive submissions’’ had been received so far, he said, with more expected before the closing date tomorrow.
‘‘The number of submissions indicates the importance of the issue. We welcome feedback on all the points and the potential impacts for its implementation.’’
He said he had not heard of anyone questioning the fundamental aims of the package to better manage freshwater.
‘‘While there are different opinions on how and the speed of travel, everyone accepts that we’ve got some challenges.’’
Some issues raised so far include concerns that the proposed timeline is too short, and whether there are enough people with the right capabilities to implement and monitor the proposed reforms. The Tasman District Council, which covers a swath of O’Connor’s West Coast-Tasman electorate, has estimated it might need an additional 19 staff initially if the package is adopted as is, reducing to 12 after about 2026.
‘‘There is an awareness of the capability issue across the farm advisory sector, the farm planning sector and within the councils,’’ O’Connor said.
(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 30 October 2019)
Rebirth of the Pocket Park
A revitalised Pocket Park is back for the summer season in downtown Nelson.
Yesterday, the Pocket Park reopened for lunch, with a handful of food carts selling an eclectic array of delicacies, including Venezuelan arepas and Colombian empanadas. Other stalls offered hair braiding, bead art and yoghurt. Trees are growing in the planters, and bright flowers decorate the rustic tables.
(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 2 November 2019)
Thought for the Week