Horse racing v development
Re "Whoa - hold your horses" (Chronicle, April 16), it is a pity that a sunset industry - apologies to those who enjoy horse racing, but it is in its twilight years - should prevent or hold up developments in the form of the new Marton Rail Hub and Rangitīkei Industrial Zone.
They both promise significant economic and environmental benefits to the Rangitīkei and to New Zealand in managing the huge Wall of Wood coming out of Rangitīkei and Whanganui regions.
The Rail Hub will help to reduce substantially the number of logging trucks on SH1 to Centreport in Wellington and will include a debarking operation (recapture or destruction of toxic methyl bromide emissions from the fumigation of logs for export will be compulsory from August 28) and the bark may be torrified into a replacement for coal in NZ's industrial boilers.
One of the first industries intended for the nearby Rangitīkei Industrial Zone is a facility turning under-utilised forestry resources into bioplastic. This raw material can then be used by other companies to create biodegradable, compostable and renewable alternatives to petroleum-based plastic products such as containers, packaging and food service items. Other entrants will make plywood and other wood products. It's envisaged that the whole of the tree will be utilised.
Currently 58 per cent of the volume of New Zealand's exports is unprocessed logs, but constituting only 14 per cent of exports value, and requiring much infrastructure to freight it. And it gets much worse – we grow our trees on average for 28 years, export most as unprocessed logs and when they reach the major destination China, they are turned into boxing for concrete, used once, then burned. The waste of the resource and to our economy is almost criminal.
Job numbers also will be significant. Let the developments proceed swiftly.
[Disclosure: the writer developed the Marton Rail Hub and Rangitīkei Industrial Zone business cases.]
Winners and losers
Why do correspondents want the Government to be in charge of just about everything? About the only thing this Government excels at is picking winners and losers.
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If you want jobs in Taranaki or to keep your own land, legally bought and paid for, you lose. If you are a politician and you want to mouth off inside or outside Parliament, the taxpayer will pick up the bill for the $0.5 to $30 million tab which your runaway tongues wrote a cheque for, for the Bank of 5 Million to pay.
If you are a small business in tourism, hospitality, events, exhibitions, grocery, etc, you lose.
If you manage a large supermarket chain, own a superyacht, advise diets for sailors, or run a hotel chain the Government favours, you win.
If your family is separated by thousands of miles and lack of MIQ spaces, you lose. If you're a social media/sports/movie star, or an immigrant overstaying a one-month visa but welcomed into the country by a Green MP, you win.
A Government big enough to give you everything you want is more than big enough to take away everything you have. Remember that when they come for what you want.
Oh, and someone wondered aloud how I kept a house on the Central Plateau snug and warm. I'm sure you know, but for the record; nothing different from what homo sapiens have done for millennia. No political oversight needed. You're welcome.
RENE de JONGH