I HAVE just completed reading extracts from Judge Dwyer's judgment in the case of Horizons Regional Council v Whanganui District Council in the matter of a sewage discharge into the Mowhanau Stream.

We ratepayers have much to thank the Whanganui Chronicle for in publishing (August 30) these extracts as, until now, all we have heard from the Whanganui District Council is its attempts to justify its lack of liability in this matter along with an outpouring of criticism against the Horizons Regional Council for pursuing the matter in court.

Now, thanks to you, we are aware that the Whanganui District Council ignored warnings as far back as 2015 from Horizons of the problems resulting from a possible power outage in their pumping stations. Then, when the Horizons warning came true, although the district council made a belated upgrade to avoid another overflow of sewage, it also stated an intention to retrospectively apply for discharge consent for the latest overflow. However, in the 15 months that followed, it failed do so. Had it applied and been successful, there would not have been a prosecution.

I see no honour for, nor give any credence to, the district council in attempting to blame the Horizons Regional Council for financial costs incurred in court as it was the author of its own fate. Instead, we see that the district council has again served the ratepayers of Whanganui very poorly and no accountability is accepted for its inactions.

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In this entire debacle, the only one who stands head and shoulders above both councils with a reason for our respect is Judge Dwyer. In observing that the ratepayers had already borne the legal costs incurred by both councils, he asked that they agree on a way in which any financial penalty can be spent beneficially for the region and the district.

We hope to see sense and effort from both councils in working together to meet Judge Dwyer's request and, if not, we ratepayers will have cause to be even more angry.

V.W. BALLANCE
Westmere


No saintly hero

US Senator John McCain has died, may he rest in peace. As has been pointed out, he served his country, was imprisoned by the enemy, and behaved heroically in horrendous conditions.

He also served his country as a politician, running for the US presidency in 2008 as the Republican candidate and losing out to the relatively unknown Democrat Barack Obama.
Later Senator McCain had a very public feud with candidate and then President Donald Trump, which he used for political grandstanding.

For example, Senator McCain voted for a bill to replace the horrendous "Obamacare" when President Obama would refuse to sign it into law. When the same bill came up for a vote with President Trump ready to sign it into law and Senator McCain could vote for it or abstain as a petty protest against the president — either of which would have let the bill pass — he voted against it and defeated the bill.

Senator McCain even made his own funeral into political grandstanding, much of it simply to attack the president. If the senator was truly the "dignified" and "statesmanlike" person the media is now portraying, he would have made peace with opponents instead of further attacking them.

Now Senator McCain has died and is getting wall-to-wall press, the question is whether he would have got this fawning coverage if he had made peace with President Trump?
The answer is clear in the NZME-written "Another View" editorial in the September 3 Chronicle, which plays Senator McCain up as a saintly hero simply so it can attack President Trump again and again.

While it may be claimed that an editorial is only opinion, this level of bias clearly has some influence on the news stories carried and ignored by the organisation. (Abridged)

K.A. BENFELL
Gonville


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