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Monday, May 13, 2013

Sue has a serve, I return the favour.

OPINION: I presume that as a member of the EnvironmentSouthland council, Robert Guyton will be abstaining when voting on the dairy-rating issue; as he has made it very clear where his vote will lie after the submission process has been completed.

His letter (May 6) makes it obvious he has a conflict of interest on this matter.

I understand that this is open for public consultation where due care will be taken to decide the issue once submitters have had their say; otherwise it would be a pointless exercise in asking we , the public, what we think.

I commend Don Nicolson on his recent letter, in which he points out that dairy farmers have put waste systems in place at the suggestion of Environment Southland.

But, hey, may as well milk the dairy sector until it can no longer support the grandiose ideas of those who are supposed to responsibly represent us. I wonder how long it will be before we see the effects of less money in the system to keep our local towns going.



Robert Guyton replied:

Sue Bruce's interest in the democratic process is commendable, but she's wrong to assume that she knows how I will vote on any issue.

I've said that I don't think it's fair for the ordinary ratepayer to cover the costs that dairying brings, and I'll be listening closely to submissions for arguments that might convince me otherwise. Mrs Bruce has jumped the gun in predicting my decision.

Perhaps she's clairvoyant, but I'm not. I'll weigh up the evidence when it's all in.


JayWontdart said...

I'd gladly write your Anti Dairy hate screeds if you like! :-)

I've got a photoshop in mind - Councillor Guyton banging his councilor-erial gavel down upon the pulpit! Swandried (and Swan shooting) farmers ducking for cover from the tremendous hellofabang emanating from Environment Southland thunders above!

We've been busy doing our best to Vegan-ise Invercargill :-)

robertguyton said...

Single-handedly destroying the dairy industry in Southland - no mean feat. And you vegans, taking out the sheep and beef guys, not to mention the chicken farmers!

wildcrafty said...

"But, hey, may as well milk the dairy sector until it can no longer support the grandiose ideas of those who are supposed to responsibly represent us"

Is she saying you (RG, ES Councillor) are supposed to be representing the dairy sector?

robertguyton said...

I believe she believes that to be the case, wildcrafty. It's all about collaboration, which some spell n-e-u-t-r-a-l-i-z-a-t-i-o-n.

Armchair Critic said...

You were elected, presumably, to vote for what you believe in. As were many others. It was not unclear what you believed in before you were elected. And finally, with a middle of the alphabet name, it is unlikely you benefited from any placement bias in the way that candidates like Aaron Aardvark would.
In short, I fail to see what is wrong with saying, as you have, that you are open to changing your mind if a sufficiently persuasive argument can be produced, but at this stage you will stand by the principles on which you were elected.

robertguyton said...

Thanks for your well-described view, AC. You have unnerved me though, by bringing up the issue of Aaron. I had hoped he wouldn't stand.

Graham Clarke said...

Fair that general ratepayers do not cover dairying costs- however if we are using a user pays system it should be that across the board. Remember there are many other costs the council spreads across the rating base that are for the use of all people recreationally but dairying pick up a higher percentage because of the higher land/capital value.It is more obvious with Southland District than ES but there is not equitable rating.Examples are that heavy vehicles pay extra to cover higher maintenance of roads but SDC then rate with a differential to collect extra rates from dairying and forestry sectors.And then spend it fixing some roads with no dairying!Cyclists benefit widely but short of an inner tube tax are unlikly to pick up the cost of cycle lanes , signage and their small share of roads and cycle tracks With ES waituna lagoon costs were spread over all dairying even though farmers in the Waiau,Aparima and Oreti catchments had no effect on it.Would you rate a panelbeater in winton extra if a panelbeater spilled paint into the River in Wyndham? On representation - yes you do represent all the constituents including dairying but still have to vote on what you consider correct.If anything your mind needs to be more open after being elected.

robertguyton said...

Yours are valid and thoughtful comments, Graham. Rating is a complex art, fraught with difficulties as you describe. Perfect apportionment would be practically impossible and the best possible options have to be chosen, in order to further the work needing to be done. There is, it seems to me, a disconnect between the broader dairy industry and the farmers union,Federated Farmers. One appears to accept the need foraccepting responsibility for environmental protection, the other seems not to. As to representation, all councillors represent both the wider Southland population and their geographical constituency and their ideological constituency. Balancing that is interesting. Think, for example, about those councillors who have Federated Farmers memberships. Ought they to abstain from the debate?

Graham Clarke said...

They certainly shouldn't abstain from debating or voting and I would like to think come to independant decisions. Being a member of any organisation, Feds , Greenpeace or Political doesn't mean you agree with all policies or statements.It should be remembered also Feds do not represent all farmers(they are not a compulsorary "union") The dairy industry does not represent sheep, beef and deer, and Peter bethune does not represent all environmentalists.All you can do is vote to do whats right as you did on the Timms issue.Well done on that.

robertguyton said...

It's good though, to know where each councillors interests lie. A declaration of interests is a good thing, as is wider broadcasting of personal opinion, in my opinion :-) Other councillors are loathe to reveal their personal views and associations. Not me. The two paid-up FF councillors were adamant that I should stand aside from voting on and discussing lignite issues, yet frothed mightily when it was suggested that they at least declare their membership in FF, especially when we were voting on actions around FF's intention to take us to court. It was fascinating to watch.

Armchair Critic said...

My understanding is that membership is not compulsory for any union, Graham.