Environment Southland won’t talk in public about water quality

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, April 28th, 2017 - 14 comments
Categories: community democracy, democracy under attack, Environment, farming, sustainability, water - Tags: , ,

From the Southland Times,

Environment Southland councillor Robert Guyton has been shut down from speaking about a damning water quality report at a council meeting.

Councillors instead decided to speak about the issue at a closed workshop in which the public and media will not be invited.

Robert Guyton wanted to talk about a Ministry of Environment Report released on Thursday which says New Zealand’s lakes and rivers are coming under increasing pressure for reasons including land use.

The report was tabled at an Environment Southland committee meeting and Guyton noted the “strident” media coverage it had received that day, including calls from some quarters for an immediate reduction in cow numbers.

However, Environment Southland chief executive Rob Phillips said the issue would be better spoken about in a council workshop, with Cr Lloyd McCallum agreeing.

Phillips said the report was tabled at the meeting as a “heads up” for councillors and the item was not on the agenda.

He said it was appropriate to have a “more considered” discussion about the issue at a later date.

Cr Ross Cockburn, the committee meeting chairman, also said it was more appropriate to have it in a workshop at a later date, but Guyton voiced his opposition.

After the meeting, Guyton said he believed the water quality report should have been spoken about by councillors in the public forum so the public knew where the councillors stood.

“To shove it into a workshop which is public excluded, I think is wrong.”

“Southland people would like to know what their elected members are thinking on this issue,” Guyton said.

“If they are only getting the sanitised version they shouldn’t feel confident they are being well represented.”

Many of the Environment Southland councillors were farmers “and it would be difficult for them to be critical in the same way I can”, Guyton said.

Workshops were “good things”, he said, but he believed they should be open to the media.

Democratic councils should be able to discuss matters in a free and open fashion, he said.

He did not believe Environment Southland was being purposely secretive by having its many workshops away from the public gaze, “but that’s the result”.

There had been pressure from some councillors in the past to open council workshops to the public but the majority of councillors had opposed it, he said.


Full article here.

The Ministry for the Environment report Our Fresh Water 2017

14 comments on “Environment Southland won’t talk in public about water quality”

  1. greywarshark 1

    MfE – Ministry for Excrement? The local bodies shouldn’t leave the Environment Ministry carrying the can. Robert Guyton is carrying his responsibilities in Southland wisely and firmly.

    And –
    8:16 am today
    River campaigner challenges effluent rules
    From Morning Report, 8:16 am today Listen duration 4′ :34″

    Northland’s river campaigner Millan Ruka is challenging the Northland Regional Council over the way it measures the effect of dairy effluent draining into rivers, as Lois Williams reports.

    From Southland to Northland –
    Woodie Guthrie’s words NZ-altered.
    This land is your land this land is my land
    From the northern Kauri
    To the southern Rimu
    From Cape Reinga
    To Rakiura Island
    This land is home to you and me.

    This land is your land, this land is my land
    From California to the New York Island
    From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
    This land was made for you and me

    And I went walking that ribbon of highway
    And saw above me that endless skyway
    I saw below me the golden valley
    This land was made for you and me

    I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
    To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
    And all around meT, a voice was sounding
    This land was made for you and me

    There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me
    A sign was painted said: Private Property
    But on the back side it didn’t say nothing
    This land was made for you and me

    When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
    In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling
    The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting
    This land was made for you and me

    This land is your land, this land is my land
    From California to the New York Island
    From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters
    This land was made for you and me
    Songwriters: Woody Guthrie
    This Land Is Your Land lyrics © O/B/O Apra Amcos

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    However, Environment Southland chief executive Rob Phillips said the issue would be better spoken about in a council workshop, with Cr Lloyd McCallum agreeing.

    Hidden behind closed doors so that the people have NFI WTF these arseholes are deciding in their name and don’t get a say in the matter.

    This is how democracy dies.

    • weka 2.1

      Pretty much. Everything else they said tries to hide this. What they could have done is said “we need time to read the report, then we will put this on the next meeting’s agenda to be discussed”. There are good reasons for not doing that, as they well know.

  3. tc 3

    As expected. The hollowmen have ensured their worker elves are widely distributed amongst all these local bodies to keep the lid on as long as they can.

  4. Ad 4

    Onya Mr Guyton.

    LGOIMA their asses.

    • weka 4.1

      Do you mean someone could oia the workshop minutes?

      • Ad 4.1.1

        It’s the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

        They would have to have a major reason to withold them. eg enforcement pending that wold be prejudicial if the report was used in evidence, or somesuch.

  5. mauī 5

    Its a fortunate thing that the Environment Southland commitee actually lies outside the “environment”. Anything to do with them? nup!

    • Ad 5.1

      They should just take the report outside the environment.

    • greywarshark 5.2

      If they can lie outside the environment, better put a heading dog on them, and pen them in an area where they speak the truth.

  6. Richard@Downsouth 7

    So they said there was a ‘heads up’ of it at the meeting, but no discussion of it… they also advised me that “This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate,distribute or copy this e-mail…” though I’m sure thats their standard email signature lol

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