Up until Tuesday I was prepared to leave the debacle of the Te Mata peak track to resolve at its own pace, regardless of the slew of blinkered, racist, and just plain wrong-headed views being expressed by a number of prominent people who should know better.

But then my old mate Ewan McGregor, former deputy chair of the regional council, weighed in with his own contradictory and racially-charged twaddle and I thought twice.
See, the problem for folk like Ewan is their neoliberal philosophy doesn't marry with their conservationist bent, so they get confused over what's most important in environmental bottom lines. Here's a clue: it isn't the economy.

Let's use the examples provided by the track fiasco to recalibrate, as it were, a few prominent arguments.

■The western face of the peak has houses and roads all over it, so why not allow this track on the eastern side?


That's like saying, I've suffered an acid attack on one side of my face, so I'm happy to also spray acid on the other cheek.

Environmental vandalism, pure and simple. It's an argument used by those who would modify anything and everything, regardless, because for them, nothing "natural" has value.

■That eastern face is already modified, because it used to be forest, so just grow some shrubs to hide the scars.

Maybe so, but that's irrelevant; it is what it is today and has been that way for far longer than the District Plan has existed.

Yet what does the plan say about it? That it's "the single most significant landscape icon in Hawke's Bay".

As it stands. Already modified or not.
So you either defend that judgment – which has been through the whole notified process, including the courts, more than once – or you toss the entire rulebook away and allow open slather on any land anywhere for anything.

■It's popular so it must be good.

John Key was "popular". Donald Trump is (or was) "popular". Even Hitler was "popular". Need I say more?

■Who cares about Maori history and culture? Ignore them.

What people actually say (in public) is in reference to myth and legend — but this is what they mean.

Funnily enough all the views trotted out in favour of keeping the track somewhere rely on this racist attitude to sharpen their point.

That includes HDC's decision.

Because otherwise, the insult to and outrage felt by local iwi would be recognised and respected — and that would be the end of the argument.

■Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet.

■Views expressed here are the writer's opinion and
not the newspaper's.


Bruce Bissett (19 January) asserts there was collusion between Craggy Range Winery and Hastings District Council to approve or 'pre-approve' the resource consent application for the Te Mata Peak walking track.
This is categorically incorrect.
Mr Bissett claims we bought the land prior to receiving consent, therefore we must have known consent would be certain.
What he failed to bother finding out is that our sale and purchase agreement was, in fact, conditional on receiving resource consent.
Furthermore, allegations of local government corruption are incredibly serious, so the facts should be obtained before drawing the wrong conclusion that has the potential to seriously mislead the community.
Michael Wilding
CEO, Craggy Range Winery