I am an existing Environment Southland Councillor and have been looking after Southland’s natural resources for the last 26 years, as Manager of Fish and Game.
I want to improve the quality of our freshwater for our health and our work using collaboration, good science, education and regulation.
For many years we have had poor water quality in our lowland waterways but in recent times there has been some improvement.
Pollutant levels in many rivers are still too high but these appear to be mostly stable or even decreasing in places. However it’s still not safe to eat shell fish from estuaries at all times. And there are still some other serious environmental issues to resolve.
Nitrate in our ground water is threatens our health as well as having adverse effects on the environment generally. It is difficult to stop nitrate getting into groundwater. It’s not just caused by dairy farming. Other land uses contribute as well. There are ways to reduce the loss of nitrate from farms and these have to be more vigorously promoted.
The demand to increase the out of stream uses of water, for irrigation for example, are increasing and this will put further pressure on water quality in our rivers.
Recent changes to the region’s water plan which have been based on good science and collaboration with users have made it more likely that discharges of dairy effluent, solid waste and silage leachate will be better controlled and therefore will have less of an adverse effect.
However the overall intensification of land use will be an ongoing source of pollutants such as excess nutrients, bacteria and fine sediment which all degrade freshwaters, estuaries and the coast. Improved technology will help reduce these losses but nutrient/sediment loss controls will be needed.
Our urban areas cause problems too. People who tip or wash oil, paint and dirt down stormwater drains, or whose septic tanks are not maintained properly all add to the pollutant load. Industries and commercial areas in cities where there are no proper controls on stormwater discharges are just as bad as farmers who don’t dispose of their dairy effluent properly.
Air pollution is also a problem, especially in our towns on frosty winter nights. This is a serious health issue but it’s very costly and difficult to fix. Councils have to provide support where they can to fix this, and this is happening, but I think more can be done.
We cannot fix these problems just by regulation. We need education as well. To protect the environment while promoting sustainable businesses we need to work collaboratively. But there are people who will not cooperate and these folk need to be prosecuted for the overall good of the community. If we do the job properly this group will be small and their effect will be minor.
There are still many challenges for us to ensure we have a prosperous and healthy future.
A vote for me will help ensure that we will have a region with good water quality and sustainable businesses.
Top 5 Issues
- The management of fresh water is the region's top priority. It is the basis of the region's wealth and quality of life for all of us in Southland. Both water quality and water quantity need to be managed carefully.
- The Southland region has a reputation for working together to solve problems. This is something that Environment Southland does pretty well. We consult with and involve affected parties in our decision making and this has to continue. However I believe this can go to a new level with Integrated Catchment Management processes to resolve water land land use issues so that we can continue to live in a region that values its business and its natural resources equally. This process does involve a commitment by everyone and it is our responsibility to ensure that this happens in a way that suits all affected parties.
- Air Quality is an issue, especially in Invercargill, Gore and to some extent our other towns. On still winter evenings there are high levels of smoke that are a health hazard. We have to work harder to resolve this problem. It will not only make our people sick but will be an impediment to the development of future industries.
- We have a long coastline and this is highly valued for recreation. Poor water quality from our rivers makes these areas unsafe to swim in and to take shellfish from at times. These areas are an important litmus test of our ability to look after our environment. We need to keep a close eye on them and understand their processes so that we can keep them protected.
- A harmonious council is needed to ensure that ratepayers are getting good outcomes at a reasonable cost. Over the past three years while I have been on the Council this has been occurring. While we will have a new chair for Environment Southland it is the responsibility of each councillor to work with each other to ensure that good decisions are made. The work of the council has to be supported by the staff and we are fortunate to have a team of dedicated and skilled professionals working at Environment Southland. Its important that the Council supports them too.
I am married to Alison and we have two adult children. I am interested in the outdoors; fishing and kayaking in particular. I am currently the Manager of Fish and Game in Southland, and have a good supportive team of staff and Councillors that make that work rewarding and beneficial to the natural resources of the region.
Some may think that there are conflicts between my work at Environment Southland and that at Fish and Game. There are overlaps but I think this is a strength as I have a thorough knowledge of the region and its rivers and coast. I also know that to make good decisions all the views of interested parties have to be taken into account.
I am currently the chairman of the Southland Canoe Club and have been the chair and a member of local school boards of trustees.
I have written trout fishing articles for the Southland Times for as long as I can remember. Here is a sample below, this perhaps provides an indication for my interest in the environment.
In mid September pink petals lay like snow at the feet of cherry trees. Whitebait swarmed into the rivers in net filling abundance. Both are signs of a benign winter and early spring, but also signs of good things to come.
Good trout fishing is mainly dependent on two things. One is good weather, and the other is the angler’s ability to go fishing. Poor angling skills can be a problem. These can be resolved with practice and the application of knowledge learned from others. The uncontrollable factor is the weather.
Weather conditions leading up to the start of the trout fishing season are important too. This winter and early spring have been settled with no major storms. Surveys of trout during the winter by Fish & Game have revealed healthy numbers of trout in Southland’s streams. In the winter trout that have survived the previous summer move into small streams to spawn. Counts of these fish are an important measure of the abundance of trout going into the next season. This information, when collected over the years becomes very valuable. Records of trout spawning in the Waituna Stream, tributaries of the Aparima and Mataura show that trout numbers there are at least as good as they were 10 years ago. In some cases much better.
Early season trout fishing has traditionally been a time for spin anglers and bait fishers to try their luck is the discoloured waters caused by snow melt and spring rains. However this year with a slight snow pack and warmish ground conditions any bits of rough weather are likely to have short lived effects. Last week for example the cold and the rain brought the Oreti River up from 14 to 40 cumecs and it fell back again quickly so that by the weekend it was in good fishing condition. A hatch of mayflies occurred in Sunday, down stream of the Wallacetown bridge. The small dusky winged flied brought trout to the surface and anglers fortunate enough to be there that time would have had a wonderful time. I know one did.
Lack of storms allow cherry blossom to float to the feet of cherry trees, and warm winters are kind to whitebait. A spring with warm rains and sunny days will make trout fishing good too.
Southland is a great province and its natural resources are still in pretty good heart - I hope to continue to help look after it into the future!
Authorised by Maurice Rodway of R D 9 Invecargill
Results - Final
- Maurice Rodway
- Neville Cook
- Marion Miller
- Jan Riddell
- Robert Guyton
- Ernest (Rowly) Currie
- Tanea Hawkins
- Alexander Neil Winter
- Thomas Downey
- Neil Wyeth
- Pauline McIntosh
- Keith Milne
- Lawrence Livingstone