E. coli remarks clarified

Kerry Mackintosh (Talking Point, Thursday, September 22) has incorrectly paraphrased what I told the August 31 public meeting.

My presentation is in the video of this meeting on Hastings District Council's website at about 47 minutes, plus answers to questions at around 1hr 38mins.

I told the meeting that we see high E. coli in the Mangateretere Stream, which flows to the east of the bore field.

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I said that, in the Brookvale area, there are septic disposal fields and paddocks that contribute E. coli from human and ruminant sources, and this is not unusual in Hawke's Bay's environment.

I also said that it is not unusual to find Campylobacter in streams.

Her description of the stream as "heavily polluted" are Ms Mackintosh's words, not mine.

Ms Mackintosh also wrote that how our aquifers and rivers interact is not fully understood, inferring that we have done no significant research into the Heretaunga aquifer since 1997.

In 2006 HBRC modelled the aquifer water balance to help manage groundwater. We also assess the impact of proposed groundwater takes, and monitor and report on the state of the environment for groundwater quantity and quality.

HBRC is currently developing a computer model of groundwater quantity and quality for the proposed Greater Heretaunga (TANK) plan change to help the whole community decide how to manage aquifers and waterways in the future.

This is one of the most comprehensive and complex investigations of groundwater in New Zealand today.

Dr Stephen Swabey
HBRC environmental science manager
Personal affront

Candidate Cynthia Bowers has called upon all candidates to reveal their financial contributors.

An understandable attempt to divert attention from her support for the secret water bottling subsidy and her backstage mishandling of Horse of the Year.

I've sought support of all kinds for my campaign - contributions, endorsements, volunteer time, sign locations. I am honoured when people respond positively with their time or resources.

Each person helping me is exercising their right of free speech in the democratic process. Some give their support publicly; others offer support assuming the same right of privacy as they expect applies to their vote itself.

Although I would be perfectly happy to publicly report each and every donation (of any kind), I respect their decision either way.

Therefore I will disclose no contribution without my donor's permission.

The law does provide for disclosure of individual financial contributions over $1500.

Any contributor giving over the threshold accepts that his or her contribution will be disclosed so that any concerns about undue influence on elected officials can be weighed.

As I have previously reported online, I've received no contributions over $1500.

In fact, most of my 18 contributions - from a very broad range of individuals (two from growers) - are well below that level.

Candidate Bowers implies devilish motivation to both those who receive - and those who give - campaign contributions.

That's a personal affront to the integrity of both me and my contributors. I recall that she calls such personal charges "slagging".

Not one of my 18 contributors (nor any from my 2013 campaign) has asked anything of me, other that I use my brain and energy with integrity.

My independence around HB politics and issues is well-known, evidenced in my conduct both as a councillor and as editor of BayBuzz magazine.

That's precisely why such a diverse assortment of people - many of whom would be surprised to find themselves in the same room with each other - support me.

Most would remark about my voice in the community, "I don't agree with Tom on everything, but ..." Of all people, I least need Deputy Mayor Bowers, joined at the hip to Mayor Yule for 16 years, to preach to me about independence.

As the mayor once remarked, "Tom, the problem with you is you can't be controlled."

I took that as a supreme compliment.

So, Cynthia, slag away.

Tom Belford
Hawke's Bay Regional Council candidate seeking re-election