As an experiment in democracy I recently emailed all the candidates that I could find the email addresses of that are standing for positions on local government for Kapiti. I asked them 6 bicycle questions and 6 clean air questions. All up I got quite a good response. Some were not what you’d call answers where they put much effort or thought into their responses, and let’s just say that some candidates aren’t all that bright, but I did get a range of intelligent answers. I am going to collate it all and this blog and my cycleway blog are going to soon have a joint post where I am going to give Kapiti people a how to vote guide.
I didn’t get many of the answers I’d have hoped for, and there’s a long way to go to educate the candidates just as there is a long way to go with educating the general population on the inappropriateness of woodsmoke being in the air that people have to breathe. There were some suggestions to try the usual suspects of mandating dry wood, educating on the proper use of a woodheater, and replacing old heaters with new heaters, all solutions that have all been proven failures in other places. So that’s a bit frustrating.
I also got one current councillor dumb enough to say that she didn’t think woodsmoke was toxic. Thicko.
And I got one candidate who flat out said he didn’t give a damn about what his neighbours think of his pollution. At least he is honest even if he is a bastard.
And there were useful suggestions too, such as removing dump fees on greenwaste and chipping and mulching the greenwaste.
However one question I asked did get quite a lot of support from candidates and that was on whether complete bans for burning off on sub 2 hectare sized lifestyle blocks should come into force.
Here is what I asked:
4. Do you support a ban, or tightening up on burning off throughout the district? A suggested tightening up would be a ban on all properties less than 2ha for instance.
I got some straight out yes answers. I got some anecdotes about some candidates having been smoked out themselves by burn off fires and agreement that the current 40 metres from a property boundary rule is ineffective.
I’m going to request to talk at council and I’m going to ask that a bylaw banning all burning off on blocks less than 2 Ha be brought in. After all they can’t have woodburners belching out more than 1.5 milligrams of particulates per cubic metre of flue gas, since their blocks aren’t big enough to have their neighbours far enough away. Obviously that means the neighbours are too close to burn off rubbish in their little back paddocks too.
After all the current rules are failing us here in Kapiti.