Following on from the RDC meeting in late March 2015 where the topic of eliminating the spraying of glyphosate in urban Rangitikei’s public places was discussed following a report by Council into cost effective alternatives. If you missed part 1, read it HERE first.
Fast forward to the day of the meeting in March when the outcome was given. Council read out their report, embedded in the Order Paper [on page 26, Council Agenda 26 March 2015 electronic version.compressed (1)] which states, briefly, that a no spray register will be established so that those who wish to opt out can, and any areas thus opted out of will be kept weed free by that person. There was then some discussion around the issue and other possible options put forward. Cr Sheridan suggested that the no spray areas could be sprayed by the current contractor using a non chemical spray. Mayor, Andy Watson however, foresaw difficulties price-wise with that, potentially incurring more expense for ratepayers, so the idea was dropped. Cr Sheridan asked why the report had not addressed the initial health issues raised at the forum in November. CEO Ross McNeill responded that he had only been directed to research what alternative options other Councils used … not the health issues. More discussion ensued and Cr Ash tried to point out the recent findings by WHO and Canterbury University regarding health risks. She was promptly reminded that this was question time, not discussion time. Seconds later (still question time) another Cr expounded on the safety of glyphosate with nods of agreement all around.
So you will see here, the way Council operates, there is no room for discussion or dialogue, except by Council of course, amongst themselves, whilst you sit and listen only. There is no opportunity to correct any misconceptions, or to raise any other issues. Your five (rather four) minutes … is it. There ends your input.
Would it not have been pertinent to research the health issues which, after all, were the point of the whole exercise? It seems the RDC takes the three monkeys approach (if we don’t look at, hear or speak about the research then we won’t need to be concerned … even if it is by Doctors and Professors). By virtue of one very specific Mayoral direction here, the whole health issue is effectively sidelined. I feel this is a very lop sided way of interacting with the community … the very people who elect these representatives. You may or may not agree.
Two Other Questions Raised by Councillors
I should add here, in the mix of the discussion, two other questions were raised by other Crs. One was the cost of preparing the report, specifically … how many hours did it take [waste] in preparation? A very pointed question to which of course I was unable to respond in any way.
So here, a person is vilified for daring to raise health concerns for the public, health concerns the public are unaware of because, as has been established by France’s highest Court, the manufacturer has lied about its safety. Everybody believes it is safe.
It clearly isn’t.The other question was, ‘who else was concerned about this issue or was it just one person?’ [that would be me presumably]. I was unable of course to respond to that either … had I been able to I could have said there were, as far as I knew, at least ten other persons anyway. Quite likely more but we shall see.
An UPDATE here: There are currently, as at 16 July 2015, 111 others who are concerned. If you happen to be concerned also, please sign the petition HERE. You could also ‘like’ our glyphosate FACEBOOK PAGE and stay informed with regular updates on this issue.
~ Watch for Part 3 ~
Pam Vernon ~ Envirowatchrangitikei ~