Careless campers country-wide problem

January 26, 2018

Queenstown Lakes is banning freedom campers from two areas after continuing problems with rubbish and human waste left behind.

Announcing the measures yesterday, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said his council would take a harder line against illegal freedom camping in areas such as Wanaka’s lakefront.

The measures, which will be put into place as soon as practicable, were a response to significant growth in freedom camping in the district this summer, Mr Boult said.

Enforcement alone was not enough, and the council had resolved to “take a harder stand”.

“These pressure points are seeing overcrowding, risks to public health due to human waste, and potential damage to our environment with people bathing and washing dishes or clothes in the lakes or rivers.”

Parts of the district were also being used like a “giant toilet”. . .

The council would also lobby the Government to put much more funding into building public toilet facilities, and providing more remote freedom camping sites throughout the district.

Too few public facilities is a major contributor to the problem and small councils with lots of tourists don’t have the rating base to fund loos in all the places where they’re needed.

The previous government introduced a fund councils could apply to for tourist infrastructure, much more is needed.

He would also be talking to ministers about reviewing the low hurdle required for meeting “self-contained” criteria for toilets in vehicles. . .

The only acceptable criteria for a ‘self-contained” toilet is those built-in ones in camper vans.

Councils can fine people camping where they shouldn’t be, but only about 20% of fines issued to freedom campers in the Waitaki District have been paid.

Fines totalling $17,000 were issued to freedom campers across the district. Of the infringement notices issued, each for $200, 15 ($3000) had been paid while 58 ($11,600) were outstanding.

The remaining 12, worth $2400, had been withdrawn…

The solution to this would be to make vehicle owners responsible for any fines. That way rental companies would have to pay and then get the money from the people hiring from them which is, I think, what happens with parking fines.

Another contributor to problems caused by careless campers is different rules from different councils in different areas.

Careless campers are a country-wide problem that needs a country-wide solution.

That will include more public facilities, clearer rules, and better education on what is and isn’t acceptable.

Defecation in public is the norm in some countries, visitors must be left with no doubt that they can’t pooh in public places here.


Rural round-up

September 27, 2014

Forensic tests key in sheep death inquiry – David Bruce:

Forensic results from Australia could determine the direction of Oamaru police investigations into the death of 218 sheep on two North Otago farms in June.

It was initially believed the sheep, worth about $45,000, were shot, but police were never 100% convinced and were having further forensic tests carried out.

Yesterday, Detective Warren Duncan said initial tests were done by a forensic veterinarian.

From those results, it was decided further forensic tests would be carried out to get definitive answers. . .

Water by-law under attack – David Bruce:

Rural people have come out in fierce opposition to a Waitaki District Council draft water bylaw, one describing it as ”a summons to divorce”.

But some councillors, and assets manager Neil Jorgensen, said the criticism was a result of misinterpretation and a lack of definition in the draft bylaw, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher commenting: ”There are a whole lot of things being read in which was never intended.”

Staff and councillors are going to take another look at the bylaw, including whether rural water schemes should be separated from urban. . .

World’s Best Young Shepherds Flock to France:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is sending two young Kiwi shepherds to France this week to take on the world’s best in an international test of sheep farming skills.

Katey Craig and Mitchel Hoare will represent New Zealand at the second World Young Shepherds Challenge, in Auvergne, 30 September–1 October.

Katey, 21, is a junior shepherd at Otiwhiti Station in Hunterville, while 19-year-old Mitchel is a senior cadet at Waipaoa Station, near Gisborne.

“The World Young Shepherds Challenge is a fantastic event, showcasing a vital industry and a range of young people from around the globe who have a major contribution to make to the international sheep farming sector,” says Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion. . .

 Dairy export prices and volumes move upwards over 20 years:

This article examines how dairy export prices and volumes changed between 1992 and 2012. Dairy exports mainly cover milk powder, butter, cheese, yoghurt, and whey. Also see the infographic Dairy exports in 2012 compared with 1992.

20-year summary

Compared with 20 years ago, both dairy export volumes and prices have risen, with most of the growth being in volumes. In 2012, the volume of dairy exports was four times as high as in 1992.

New Zealand is now more diversified in the countries it exports dairy products to. Notably, the amount of dairy exported to China has grown strongly. In the 1960s, New Zealand exported dairy products mainly to the United Kingdom (UK) but this has changed to include the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. . . .

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Traditional treatment nets supreme award for Sealord smoked salmon:

Sealord Group’s Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon received a resounding thumbs up from both the professional panel of judges and the consumer judging panel at this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The 2014 Supreme Award winner is smoked in West Auckland the traditional way, over manuka wood.

Judge Ray McVinnie says the winners he liked most this year were steeped in tradition, but with a modern twist.

“I was very impressed with the way the best things seem to set the trends, not follow them,” Mr McVinnie says. . . .

 

Buyers have ‘pick of the bunch’ as viticulture and agriculture units go on the market for sale:

A cluster of income-producing agricultural and viticulture land holdings in the Nelson region have come onto the market simultaneously – with the intention of having new owners in place in time to capitalise on the various 2015 harvest seasons.

Two high profile wineries, a large scale hop growing and processing operation, and an apple and kiwifruit orchard and packhouse are all up for sale across the region – each for different reasons.

Combined, the quartet of primary production ventures has an asking price of almost $32 million. . . .

 


Waitaki District election results

October 12, 2013

The ODT reports Gary Kircher has been elected mayor of the Waitaki District, beating nearest rival Jim Hopkins by about 400 votes.

Eric Spittal polled 1024 votes, while David Wilson received 696 votes, Greg Smith 485, Helen Stead 404 and Fliss Butcher 144. 

Jim Hopkins (3309 votes), Hugh Perkins (3159), Melanie Tavendale (2996), Sally Hope (2932), Peter Garvan (2721) and Colin Wollstein (2648) will represent the Oamaru ward, while Kathy Dennison (583) won the right to represent the Waihemo ward.

William Kingan (906) and Sharyn Price (572) will represent the Corriedale ward.

The voter return rate was 55.43%.

This means long-serving councillor Helen Stead who also stood for mayor missed out on a seat on the council too.


64% undecided

September 16, 2013

An Oamaru Mail poll (not online) shows it’s a two horse race for the Waitaki District mayoralty but 64% of those polled were undecided.

A total of 267 people they called said they were going to vote.

Of those who had decided 13% said they will be voting for Jim Hopkins and 12% for Gary Kircher.

The other five candidates, got combined support of  11%.

I don’t know how many people were called in total nor do I know the margin of error.

But this does confirm what the grapevine is telling me – the race is between Hopkins and Kircher but most people are still undecided as to which they’ll tick.


Meeting the candidates

September 3, 2013

Extra seats had to be brought in to the Opera House’s Ink Box to cope with the crowd at the forum for the seven candidates seeking the Waitaki mayoralty organised by the Otago Chmaber of Comemrce and Otago Daily times last week.

Last night’s forum, organised by the Oamaru Mail, was in the Opera House’s main auditorium and attracted about 200 people. That’s a good crowd in a small town for such an event.

The meeting started promptly at the advertised time of 7pm. Chair Phil Hope said it would finish on the dot of 9pm and it did.

Each candidate was given a couple of minutes to introduce themselves and their vision for the District then had a minute each to answer questions which had been sent in by Mail readers.

Most of the focus was on generalities.

Federated Farmers is organising a forum with a rural focus later in the month.

The seven candidates are Fliss Butcher, Jim Hopkins, Gary Kircher, Greg Smith, Eric Spittal, Helen Stead and David Wilson.

No-one disgraced themselves but I think three showed they didn’t have the knowledge and ability required for the job.

If you were just going on performance last night, I don’t think there was a lot between the other four.

But if the grapevine is reliable there are two front runners – Hopkins, who is the current deputy, and Kircher, a former deputy who stood against the current mayor, Alex Familton,  three years ago.

He made it an all or nothing bid, wasn’t successful and is again standing only for mayor while Hopkins is also standing for council.

Both have different strengths, both have different weaknesses.

One question asked was about economic development.

I regard local government’s role in that as similar to central government’s – it should have policies which make it easy for people to do business, within whatever boundaries are necessary, and leave them to do it.

I don’t think local body politicians and bureaucrats are any better at picking winners than central ones and I don’t want them trying with ratepayers’ money.

At local level, a how-can-we-help council culture rather than a you-have-to-do-this one would be a good start.

Another question asked them what they’d do with their day jobs if they were successful.

All said being mayor would be their day jobs which highlights an issue.

The position of mayor of a geographically large district with a small population (about 20,000 people) and therefore small rating base doesn’t pay much.

Those who hark back to the days when being mayor was part-time and unpaid might say it pays too much.

But if the role has to be a full time one, a lot of people who aren’t retired, don’t have businesses which can run without them, or who have no other income, would think it doesn’t pay enough.


By-election needed already

August 17, 2013

The local body election process is just starting and we already need a by-election in the Waitaki District.

Nominations for October’s local elections closed yesterday, with nobody willing to put themselves forward for the Ahuriri ward seat on the Waitaki District Council. Council electoral officer David Blair said that would mean a by-election would be required.

”When the [October] election is over we will have to have a by-election, which will include the Ahuriri Community Board, because we only got three [nominations] and we need five, and we will also include the Oamaru Licensing Trust ward 1, because we need three and we only got two.”

However, a by-election would not be held until the end of January or early February, he said. . .

When Alex Familton won both the mayoralty and a council seat six years ago the cost of the subsequent by-election in the Waihemo ward was given as between $5400 and $16,000, depending on whether a vote was needed.

It’s unlikely it will cost any less now.

That’s not a huge amount in terms of the council’s overall budget but it’s a cost that could have been avoided.

Publicity a few days ago before nominations closed could have highlighted the urgent need to find someone.

The retiring councillor could have found a successor, or at least ensured that the people in the ward knew they were in danger of being unrepresented.

The people in the ward, knowing their councillor wasn’t standing again, could have found someone to represent them.

And at least one of the seven of mayoral aspirants could have used the opportunity to demonstrate leadership by ensuring their was a full complement of candidates for every vacancy.

It is possible that had any or all of these been done no-one would have been willing to stand which raises a question – what happens if there’s no nominations for the by-election?


Either one or t’other not both

July 14, 2013

Dunedin City Councillor Fliss Butcher plans to contest the Waitaki District mayoralty and stand as a councillor in the Corriedale ward.

Success in both would trigger a by-election in the ward.

This is what happened when the sitting mayor, Alex Familton who isn’t standing again, first became the mayor. He also stood, and was elected, as a councillor in the Waihemo ward so his success as mayor necessitated an immediate by-election at a cost of some tens of thousands of dollars.

Butcher shouldn’t risk putting ratepayers to that expense again.

She should stand for one position or t’other, not both.


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