State of emergency declared, houses lost in Nelson bush fire

We usually only see major bush fires in overseas news, but the fire that started yesterday near Nelson has burnt a wide area, including some houses (number unknown at this stage), and a state of emergency has been declared.

RNZ: Nelson bush fire ‘growing all the time’ as wind fans flames

More than 100 homes have been evacuated in the Nelson region as a forest fire burning 30km from the city continues to grow, with firefighters warning it could take four days to extinguish.

The fire which started in Pigeon Valley yesterday afternoon grew to 1870ha with a perimeter of 20km by 3am.

There were reports of homes destroyed in Eves Valley and Redwood Valley, with damage also to areas from Pigeon Valley north to the Inland Moutere Highway and Waimea West Road, Fire and Emergency said.

Stuff:  Nelson wildfire state of emergency – homes evacuated, property destroyed

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

* A massive forest fire has taken hold near tinder-dry Nelson.

* A State of Emergency has been declared in Tasman.

* Emergency services said the fire covered about 1870 hectares, with a perimeter of 20km, on Wednesday morning.

* Several houses have been lost in Redwood Valley and Eve Valley, according to the fire service. Residents have been told to evacuate, and those nearby should be ready to leave.

* Residents have also been evacuated from properties in Golden Hills Road, Mallings Road and Greenacres Road.

* Notices of potential evacuation are in place for top end of Sunrise Valley and Deep Dale Road in Upper Moutere and Pigeon Valley.

* 12 crews have been battling the fire overnight, and 12 fresh crews plus at least 10 helicopters and 2 fixed wing aircraft will take over on Wednesday morning.

Dodgy ‘poll’ in Nelson

The Greens seem to be getting a bit dodgy in their attempt to get electorate votes in Nelson.

Patrick Gower: Desperate Greens drop fake news ‘poll’ in Nelson

The Greens have released the results of some phone canvassing which they’ve referred to as an “internal poll” that claims to show them ahead in Nelson.

But it is not a poll just like there wasn’t a fiscal hole.

It’s a set of numbers Green volunteers have gathered, with no way of checking them and media should be ashamed of reporting them as a “poll”.

It is not scientific, they have not released the raw data or methodology.

The first “question” is particularly dodgy: “Which candidate, between the Greens’ Matt Lawrey & Labour’s Rachel Boyack, do you think will beat Nick Smith?”

Now obviously this does not give voters the option of saying “Nick Smith will win” and is more of a push-poll.

It is actually “fake news” from the Greens.

It is a blatant bid to get publicity and get Labour voters to vote tactically and try and get Lawrey over the line to give them a lifeline in case they don’t make 5 per cent.

This certainly sounds dodgy, but there’s a certain amount of irony here.

Gower accusing someone of using a poll for “a blatant bid to get publicity” is a bit rich.

Rose Renton admits smearing poison on Nick Smith

One of the people who attacked Nick Smith with rat poison has admitted doing it, but denies touching his face.

Rose Renton, alsol known as a medical cannabis campaigner, and her husband were the two who accosted Smith, who lodged a complaint with the Police.

Stuff:  Nelson protester Rose Renton explains why she rubbed rat poison on Nick Smith

A protester who rubbed rat poison on Nelson MP Nick Smith’s clothes says she was making a “symbolic statement” against the Brook Valley poison drop.

Rose Renton confronted the Environment Minister near the Nelson Market on Saturday but denies shoving him or touching his face.

Renton lives in the Brook Valley, but says she is not part of the Brook Valley Community Group, which has opposed the drop. She said she only wanted to make “a stand against the environment Mr Smith has poisoned”.

“He is the Minister of our Environment, he did not attend The Brook poisoning unlike half our police force so my husband and I went to him,” Renton said.

“It was a symbolic gesture of his support of the poison drop without the required 48 hours notice to surrounding community.”

According to Smith the incident “became quite frightening when it escalated from verbal abuse and throwing rat poison at myself and volunteers to physical shoving and rubbing rat poison over my face and clothes”.

“It was a complete violation of the wildlife and people living in the Valley. I wanted Mr Smith to see exactly what it feels like to have poison in your backyard.

“He didn’t enjoy it, he felt violated?  Well so do the people in the Brook.”

The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary want to create a predator free area for native wildlife in the Brook Valley near Nelson, along similar lines to Zealandia in Wellington.

It says the poison drop was a necessary step in creating a predator-free zone behind the fence.

RNZ:

Renton says she doesn’t regret what she did, and says there was no risk to Smith.

Whether there was any actual risk or not physically accosting MPs in protest over anything is crossing a line, and she should be held to account under law.

 

 

Poisonous protests in Nelson

Poisonous politics seems to be a thing in Nelson.

Yesterday on Stuff: Three arrests as Brook Sanctuary poison drop in Nelson turns nasty

A controversial poison drop in Nelson has turned nasty, with three arrests and a helicopter’s fuel supply sabotaged.

Sabotaging a helicopter is very nasty, and potentially (human) life threatening.

Two helicopters and 75 people are involved in the first of three planned drops at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, near Nelson. They are spreading bait laced with brodifacoum, a common rodent poison that is toxic to humans and animals. The operation aims to eradicate all rodents from within a 14-kilometre pest-proof fence that was completed last year at the 691-hectare sanctuary, to allow for the reintroduction of native wildlife.

Wildlife sanctuaries tend to be quite popular and are viewed positively, as is eradicating introduced pests.

Today from Stuff: Pair rub poison in face of Nelson MP Nick Smith, threaten family

Nelson MP and Environment Minister Nick Smith says he has laid a complaint with police after rat poison was rubbed in his face and his family was threatened.

Smith said he was not harmed by the incident, which happened about 11am on Saturday at the Nelson Market.

“It was blue rat poison,” he said. “I went and had a shower afterwards.”

The incident came as the first of three planned drops of bait laced with brodifacoum got under way at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, near Nelson.

Smith said a man and a woman protesting over the operation threw poison at him.

“The situation became quite frightening when it escalated from verbal abuse and throwing rat poison at myself and volunteers to physical shoving and rubbing rat poison over my face and clothes,” he said.

It was at that point, police were called and the pair walked away “but continued threats to poison myself and my family”.

“I’m quite tolerant of peaceful protest but this has gone too far and I have lodged a formal complaint with police,” Smith said. “The incident was disappointing because people are generally respectful at the Nelson Market even when they disagree with Government policy or my views.”

“You get a bit of lip; that goes with the turf but this went too far,” he said.

Throwing poison and threatening MPs and their families is extreme protest that warrants severe penalties and deterrence.

Green campaign launch in Nelson

The Green Party is launching their election campaign in Nelson. They recently announced they would be campaigning to win that electorate, a different direction for them as they have solely sought the party vote in recent elections.

Stuff:  Greens pick Nelson for campaign launch

The Green Party is to launch its election campaign in Nelson on Sunday as it attempts to unseat long-time Nelson MP and National Party Minister Nick Smith.

Nelson City councillor Matt Lawrey is the Green’s candidate for Nelson and said the decision to hold the nationwide launch here  provided a “huge boost” to his campaign.

“I think we have a chance of winning,” he said.

I suppose he has to say that but last election:

  • Nick Smith (National) 20,000
  • Maryan Street (Labour) 12,395
  • Colin Robertson (Greens) 3,449

Even if Labour encouraged voters to go green it looks a very long shot for Lawrey.

Lawrey said he believed part of the attraction was that he was running a strong “two-tick campaign” for the seat and the party vote. He is No. 21 on the party list.

“I believe I have got a chance of winning [the seat] because every day, all sorts of people tell me they think it’s time for a change.

“Nick Smith has been an MP in these parts for 27 years; it’s time for a change.”

Greens haven’t been attracted to two-tick campaigning for a decade so it is an interesting change.

The top 20 candidates on the Green Party list including co-leaders Metiria Turei and James Shaw are scheduled to join Lawrey and West Coast-Tasman electorate hopeful Kate Fulton at the launch on Sunday afternoon at the Trafalgar Centre.

The launch is scheduled to be held from 1pm to 3pm.

Possibly not coincidentally the Greens were bequeathed a substantial amount on the condition it be used in the Nelson and West Coast-Tasman electorates.

I am interesting in whether the Greens will actively contest more electorates. Of special interest will be Metiria Turei’s approach in Te Tai Tonga, the southern Maori electorate that she is switching to.

Greens contesting Nelson electorate

The Green Party has had a policy of not contesting electorates. They have stood in electorates but used the contests to campaign for party votes, which of course are the critical vote under MMP.

But they have signalled a switch from that strategy with an announcement they will actively contest the Nelson electorate.

Green Party to run strong campaign to unseat Nick Smith in Nelson

The Green Party is today announcing that its Nelson candidate, second term local councillor Matt Lawrey, will run to win the electorate and unseat Nick Smith in September’s election.

Mr Lawrey and the Green Party will run a strong two-tick campaign in Nelson, and will offer a positive, solutions-based alternative to Dr Smith and National. It is the Green Party’s first run at winning an electorate seat since Jeanette Fitzsimons won Coromandel in 1999.

This is held by National Minister Nick Smith.  The electorate result from 2014:

  • Nick Smith (National) 20,000
  • Maryan Street (Labour) 12.395
  • Colin Robertson (Greens)  3,449
  • John Green (Conservatives) 1,125

Rachel Boyack will stand for Labour this year. She is 47 on the Labour list so looks out of contention unless she  wins the electorate.

Lawrey is 24 on the Green list so also looks unlikely to succeed this year.

So it looks a long shot even if Labour did what they could to help the Greens. This possibility was raised last December:  Labour denies giving Green light for Nelson

The Labour Party has denied suggestions it is standing aside in Nelson, despite media reports that it is engaging in strategic deals with the Greens ahead of next year’s general election.

Media reports yesterday suggested that Labour was talking about standing aside in Nelson to give a Greens candidate a clear run.

However, Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton said despite an agreement between Labour and the Greens to work together to change the Government there was no such plan for Nelson.

“We have a very strong party in Nelson and that won’t change. I’ve been impressed by how our members have remained committed to winning government next year,” he said.

If Labour stick to that then the Green bid looks to be symbolic rather than realistic.

The Greens were bequeathed a large donation that stipulated it had to be used in the Nelson and West Coast electorates, which is likely to have been a factor in the decision. See Greens say big donation a mystery:

The party declared a donation of $283,835 last week from the estate of Elizabeth Riddoch.

Riddoch, from Nelson, was not a party member and did not appear to have any formal connection to the Greens.

Will Greens actively contest other electorates? They must be tempted given Labour’s obvious weakness going into the campaign period.

 

Nelson’s upcoming “Stop the Drop” environmental rally

A guest post by “Spiderman”. 

Note that guest posts are offered by Your NZ to provide different information and opinions.


Recenty weeks have seen an increase in activity of Nelson activists opposed to the planned posioning of the Brook Valley catchment by the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. The Sanctuary plans to use approx 26 tonnes of bait laced with brodifacoum to eliminate pest species within the 715 hectare fenced off area. The plan involves the aerial delivery of the bait, with all wildlife in the Sanctuary susceptible to posioning. Brodifacoum is an anticoagulant which is used in rat posion in New Zealand, and is worse than 10-80 in terms of the suffering inflicted upon posioned animals.

The terrain of the Brook Valley catchment is rugged with the fence running along slopes of up to 50 degrees. One area of the fence was destroyed by a slip and repairing it involved cutting into the bank, increasing the possibility of further slips. Water runoff has been a problem for the fence with the swales and culverts being left open in order to avoid being blocked by silt in heavy rain.

Allegations of conflict of interest have been fuelled by the lack of transparency of the Nelson City Council, which moved deliberations about the Sanctuary to a session in which public access was restricted. Nelson’s renown environmental lawyer Sue Gray has agreed to consult with the Brook Valley Community Group in order to pursue legal means of stopping the poisioning from taking place. As part of its campaign to stop the posioning the group will be distributing flyers and holding a public march up Trafalagar Street. The group’s website http://stopthedrop.kiwi has links to Facebook pages and resources for people who want to support the cause.

Retrolens historic images

This may be of interest to some people – a library of historic aerial photographs, currently for the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Malborough, Canterbury and Southland.

Retrolens Historic Images – Map

Also on aerial images, I see that Google Maps have updated images, at least of my area. It’s interesting to see new plantings and growings and cuttings and landscaping.

From Retrolens About:


Retrolens is made up of a treasure trove of aerial photographs that have been taken since the 1936 through to 2005. It is a Crown archive and contains 500,000 images.

This Historic Image Resource came about as the result of a scanning project that was started in 2015 by partnerships between the Local Government Geospatial Alliance (LGGA) and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). The two organisations were concerned that the treasure was deteriorating and with fewer and fewer scanners worldwide able to read the images, something had to be done quickly before this significant slice of our cultural and geospatial history was lost forever. An initial pilot was undertaken to test out the viability of a full scanning project for the whole archive, then the project itself, led by LINZ began.

The project began with three partner regions (Canterbury, Waikato and Bay of Plenty). Council partners continue to join the project progressively from across NZ as different areas became aware of the project and have funding to be able to join the initiative. It is estimated that the scanning of the Crown archive will be completed by 2021.

The photos were taken for a range of reasons such as land management and mapping. The value of these images is in showing change across New Zealand. Key drivers for having the images scanned broadly speaking are better decision making, complying with regulatory requirements and cultural heritage with specifics including using the images to support potential identification of “HAIL” contaminated land sites, accretion and recession of coastlines, changes in areas of significant vegetation and changes in river pathways.

 

Nelson electorate deal denials

Mixed messages over Labour-Green electorate deals or no deals continue, with denials from both Labour and the Greens that there there will be no deal in Nelson.

In the original 1 News report Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election Andrea Vance said:

In Nelson the Greens fell like they can pick up a lot of votes and so they’re in talks with Labour at the moment to stand a Labour candidate aside so that the Greens can have a clear run in that seat in Nelson.

The reason the greens have chosen Nelson is because it’s a classically Green seat. Now they’ll campaign hard in that seat because they’ve been given a chunk of money by an anonymous donor who has specified it must be used in the campaign in Nelson and the West Coast only.

And so Labour found it easy to stand aside because the candidate there would go up against Nick Smith for the electorate vote who’s been there for years and years and years and there’s a strong incumbent.

There is some very specific information there. Someone must have given this to Vance. Metiria Turei and her plans to stand in Te Tai Tonga also featured in that item.

Little responded on 1 News’ Breakfast programme: “This is news to me, we have no agreement on any seat”.

A follow up from 1 News: ‘Bugger that!’ – Labour members leave party over proposed deal with Green Party in Nelson

Eight Labour members have quit the party in protest over a proposed electorate deal with the Greens in Nelson.

One of those who quit said the members had emailed in their resignations – and the reasons – to the party.

“They were eight core people and they’ve walked away. They expected us to help the Greens… we’re not going to work for the Greens, bugger that.”

The ex-member said supporters were unhappy about how they learned about the proposed deal.

“It leaked out at the [annual] conference. One of the candidates was told by Andrew Little… people here are really angry.

But Labour continues to deny any deal in Nelson. Stuff: Labour denies giving Green light for Nelson:

The Labour Party has denied suggestions it is standing aside in Nelson, despite media reports that it is engaging in strategic deals with the Greens ahead of next year’s general election.

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton said despite an agreement between Labour and the Greens to work together to change the Government there was no such plan for Nelson.

“We have a very strong party in Nelson and that won’t change. I’ve been impressed by how our members have remained committed to winning government next year,” he said.

“This is about how to work together under MMP to change the Government and get the economy working for all New Zealanders.”

A “no such plan for Nelson” denial followed by general poliwaffle.

Greens are also now denying a deal has been done.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said no decisions had been made about any electorate seats, including Nelson. He also said was wrong to suggest that there was any connection between this donation and its candidate selection process in Nelson.

“That is patently incorrect … no decision has been made about the Nelson electorate seat, or any others, and no donation, regardless of its size, will have any bearing on our decision-making process.”

The original report didn’t say a deal had been done, just that Greens were ‘in talks with Labour’, albeit implying it looked likely to happen.

And of particular note is that Shaw is doing the backtracking, not Metiria Turei.

This is a real muddle and doesn’t help Labour and Greens look like a cohesive government-in-waiting.

Little denies electorate deals

1 news has reported this morning that the Greens and Labour have agreed on some electorate deals, including giving Metiria Turei a free run at the Te Tai Tonga Maori electorate, and also deals are being done in Nelson (Nick Smith’s seat) and Ohariu (Peter Dunne’s seat).

The Greens have talked to Andrea Vance about this, but Andrew Little seems to have been surprised by the Greens going public on this. He has denied any agreements have been made and he avoided talking about specific electorates.

Good morning, joins us soon with exclusive details of backroom deals between Labour and the Greens ahead of next year’s election

‘In Nelson the Greens feel like they can pick up a lot of votes’ on backroom deals between Labour and Greens.

Green’s won’t stand a candidate in Ohariu, paving the way for a Labour candidate to battle with United Future’s Peter Dunne.

Green’s co-leader Metiria Turei will run in Te Tai Tonga, Labour candidate Rino Tirikatene told by party not to run.

They reported that Turei informed Tirikatene.

But Andrew Little denies any deals have been made.

‘This is news to me, we have no agreement on any seat’ on Labour doing backroom deals with the Greens.

‘We are committed to changing the government and that’s what that (MoU) agreement is about’.

‘We’re thinking about a campaign that means we get to win government and that means looking at the party vote’

Little diverted to his boilerplate campaign phrases. Has he been blind sided by the Greens? Or is he not aware of the deals Labour have been talking about with the Greens.

From the Labour-Green Memorandun of Understanding:

2. Working Together

d) We agree to a “no surprises” policy that means we give each other prior notice and the details of major announcements and speeches. This includes matters where we may disagree.

This means that Little is not being truthful, or the Greens have sprung a surprise announcement.

Andrea Vance is back on Breakfast now to respond to Little’s comments, she has confirmed that the Green Party has told her about these deals.

My guess is that the Greens have become alarmed and frustrated by the lack of traction in the polls for Labour and the Greens and want to try and push things along.

Little has been caught very flat footed.

Are the Greens deciding they have to do what’s best for themselves and stuff Labour?

It certainly doesn’t look like Turei and Little are together on this announcement.

It looks like a power play by Turei.

UPDATE: 1 News now online – Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election

Note that while Little says that no deal has been done the headline says that the deals are being worked on.

Has Turei jumped the gun? If so, why?