Waikato ratepayers are tapped for environmental project that made headlines when war broke out

January 22, 2015

Alf observes with some bemusement another cost heaped on residents of the Waikato.

They will be pouring more money into Maungataurari Ecological Island, described by the local newspaper as “”the jewel in the region’s environmental crown”.

But it is struggling financially and regional councillors have come to its assistance.

Not with their money, obviously. Nope. Ratepayers’ money.

Discussion on funding for the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust (MEIT) resumed yesterday at Waikato Regional Council talks on the 2015-2025 Draft Long Term Plan.

Debate raged over two days but councillors voted 9 to 5, to commit $300,000 each year to the wildlife refuge for three years.

New information delayed proceedings overnight and when the MEIT annual report was presented, it showed an organisation “living hand-to-mouth”.

Their financial report for the year ending June 2014 showed income was down more than $450,000 on the previous year. This was due in part to the Sirocco effect – the famed kakapo who enticed visitors through the gates to the value of $200,000.

There was a $123,000 cash surplus from operations and, in the annual report, accountant Graham Scott said MEIT was heavily reliant on regional and central government funding.

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Go Gareth – there’s much to be said for letting all the people have their say on constitutional reform

January 7, 2015


Gareth Morgan can be a know-it-all pain in the arse.

But sometimes his willingness to stick his neck out and say what needs to be said is refreshing and to be applauded.

Perhaps these occasions most often arise when his opinions coincide with Alf’s on certain matters.

This is certainly the case today, when Morgan writes in the NZ Herald about constitutional issues raised by the two language versions of the Treaty of Waitangi, the aspirations of indigenous persons, and the role of the Waitangi Tribunal.

For example:

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Want to see why Delahunty got a 2/10 mark from Trans Tasman? Just look at her Treaty thinking

December 16, 2014
And in the year 2014 this treaty will entitle your people to a 50:50 share of all governance arrangements...

And when we Pakeha become more politically enlightened, this treaty will entitle your people to a 50:50 share of all governance arrangements…

Alf hadn’t noticed a recent opinion piece by Gareth Morgan, the bloke with a dislike of moggies but – hurrah – a great urge to preserve our democracy.

Morgan was contributing to the debate over Maori representation on local councils.

More particularly, he was taking issue with New Plymouth’s (very temporary) Mayor, Andrew Judd, who had embroiled himself in a debate over whether his council should have a Maori ward and was calling for all councils to have Maori provide half of their councils.

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More ammunition for those who think the best pussy is a perished one

February 10, 2013
Will it be duck for dinner? Or cat?

Will it be duck for dinner? Or cat?

The Grumbles took scant notice of the fuss that has raged in recent weeks over moggies and their contribution to bird culling.

On one side of the battlefield was economist and businessman Gareth Morgan, who branded the cat a “friendly neighbourhood serial killer” and called on cat owners to make their current cat their last to protect New Zealand’s native birds and environment.

According to a report here, Morgan is supported by the likes of Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell. He agreed Kiwis need to “seriously consider whether you are going to replace your old cat”.

Hackwell is a cat owner and admitted felines were “wonderful companions”, but said when his moggy’s time was up, there would be no more meows in his house.

“I would rather have fantails and tuis,” he said.

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Rats threatened to take over under the failed 50:50 governance model at Maungatautari Reserve

October 18, 2011

Alf was delighted to learn that the year-long battle about who should have how much say in the running of a wildlife reserve in Waikato has been resolved.

The Maungatautari Reserve is a 3400 hectare area of forested extinct volcano land in the Waikato basin between Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Putaruru.

The governance brouhaha has threatened the protection of the wildlife behind a multi-million-dollar predator-proof fence.

The dispute embraced funders of the Maungatautari Reserve, the Waipa District Council, Environment Waikato, a handful of surrounding landowners and local iwi, Ngati Koroki Kahukura.

And it threatened to derail years of work at the wildlife sanctuary near Karapiro.

Now here’s the important bit:

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Iwi guards outside of ecological island can only add to the excitement, eh?

April 9, 2011

Almost as uninviting as Libya.

Looks like the Maori Wars have been reignited in the Waikato.

A bunch of Maori have mounted a guard outside a bit of land that Alf understood was administered by the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.

It seems they are giving new meaning to the idea of “community”.

It also seems that funders of the conservation project are backing out and volunteer workers are finding they have better things to do.

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