Category Archives: Stop press

Tikorangi Newsletter 2. August 30, 2013

Tikorangi-Butter-paperHi de hi, guys!

Welcome to our second issue of Tikorangi News. We at New Plymouth District Council take our responsibilities to keep residents informed very seriously.

???????????????????????????????• We know that Tikorangi residents were united in their opposition to the Kowhai C site but we have GOOD NEWS. We have halved the number of gas wells Greymouth Petroleum can drill on this site. They are only allowed to have four wells – to start with anyway. This is a win-win situation. They win. And in the future, if they apply for a variation to their consent, they will likely win again.

• We wish to reassure Tikorangi residents that there is NO TRUTH whatsoever in the rumour that Greymouth Petroleum plan to relocate their production station at Kowhai A to Kowhai C site. Not a skerrick of truth and Greymouth have warned their gossiping staff that loose lips sink ships.

• We at New Plymouth District Council want to tell Tikorangi residents that we are making wonderful progress on the voluntary Tikorangi Protocol. The success of this protocol can be measured by the fact that we have put a time limit on the Kowhai C site. It will be all over in 15 years. Unless subsequent council officers grant an extension of course. We can’t be blamed for what happens in the future. And if we need to progress the Protocol without residents being involved, you can rest assured that both Council staff and the companies have your best interests at heart. regular_smileregular_smile

• Finally on the new Kowhai C site, before we “move forward”, Greymouth Petroleum have assured us that they have talked to all the close neighbours to that site. That is, all the neighbours who matter. If you are a close neighbour (maybe even a very close neighbour) and the Greymouth team have not visited you then you just need to wake up and get real. You are not important. Move on. You cannot expect to stand in the way of progress. The same applies to Otaraua Hapu. If they want to be difficult and refuse to meet with the good folk at Greymouth Petroleum, that is their decision and we have no role at all to play in resolving this conflict. Ngati Rahiri’s signature is good enough for us.

IMG_0953 copy Greymouth on Road small• Greymouth Petroleum have asked us to assure residents that they have not forgotten their undertaking to NPDC councillors on June 11 that they will be setting up a blog, holding community meetings and sending out community newsletters to keep you folk informed. They have just been such busy little beavers that they haven’t had time to do it yet. However, they do want everybody to know that they are very, very sorry about the incident back on March 17 when one of their loads took out the power supply to Tikorangi. They assure us that this was a fully compliant load and they are sure that there were pilot vehicles. Somewhere. Of course we understand that little accidents can happen.

• We are a little concerned that some Tikorangi residents are afflicted by hallucinations. Greymouth Petroleum have checked all the GPS records on their vehicles and they have never, we repeat NEVER, used Tikorangi Rd between Ngatimaru and Inland North Roads as an alternative route for their Kowhai B site in 2013. The resident who reported a yellow GMP truck on that road at 2.50pm on March 21 was imagining things. Similarly, the resident who claims she was almost hit by a Greymouth heavy transport when exiting her driveway around 3.00pm on March 25 this year must have been drinking. The heavy load, accompanied by two pilot vehicles that passed along that road between 11.00 and 11.30am on June 25 had nothing whatever to do with Greymouth. Having dealt with all these false allegations, Greymouth have assured residents that they should “feel free to contact (their transport manager) at any time going forward”. We wouldn’t want to be going backward now, would we? sad_smile

• On a more cheerful note we have wonderful news of a new milestone. Little old Tikorangi is now knocking on the door of 13 well sites and when it all goes ahead, you could have the exciting prospect of maybe up to 95 individual wells in your area. Well done Tikorangi! Coming to a paddock near your cowshed soon, if you are lucky. Maybe a party will be in order when you hit the ton. Add in your pumping stations, the switching station and McKee and you have the round number of 20 different sites. This is pretty special, Tikorangi. And you hardly know they are there. Is this not a wonderful situation? At Council, we think it is. Of course, Greymouth have assured us that they are only going to drill one iddle widdle hole at each site and the surplus consented wells are only to “future proof” the company but we are pretty confident that they will drill more than that.
Trucks on raod by Tikorangi school • We have had positive reports that the large loads on your roads are a special attraction for the preschoolers in the area. And some dads, too. Isn’t it just so cute how the appeal of big rigs never fades? You can tell your littlies that there is plenty more to come so the excitement will continue.

???????????????????????????????• An innovative initiative is about to start as we want to teach Tikorangi residents that their roads are safe and that local children will be well looked after if they return to using the free school bus service. This will have the added benefit of reducing traffic on the roads if parents stop driving their children to school instead. “Keep left” will be the slogan. There is plenty of room in the drain for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. Wear gumboots if it is raining. Just stay as far left as you can because some of these are very large vehicles and the bigger they are, the more important they are.
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???????????????????????????????• New Plymouth District councillors want us to tell you what a wonderful day they had on their tour visiting the companies and they thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality. They are sorry they couldn’t fit in the residents on this recent familiarisation tour, facilitated by Tikorangi’s very own elected representative, Cr Craig MacFarlane. But they were reassured by the companies that any negative impacts on residents are grossly exaggerated and claims of increasing industrialisation of your district are nothing but hyperbole. They saw this for themselves so that is good news. You will be reassured by this and no doubt you will all be voting to re-elect Cr MacFarlane in appreciation of his sterling efforts on your behalf. regular_smile

• Finally, our new complaints system at New Plymouth District Council is working really well. We have set up a new File 13 for all complaints, enquiries and calls on petrochemical matters. Don’t forget that if your complaint is regarding traffic, call the police, not us. It will save everybody time.

Kind regards from all of us at New Plymouth District Council. We are proud to be here to help you. regular_smileregular_smileregular_smile
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Click here to read the first edition of your Tikorangi News.

A Case of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

Cordyline Red Fountain (ours) and Cordyline Design-A-Line Burgundy - identical DNA

Cordyline Red Fountain (ours) and Cordyline Design-A-Line Burgundy – identical DNA


The saga of Cordyline Red Fountain continues.

Gobsmacked we were by the decision of the NZ Plant Variety Rights’ Office to grant equal legal protection to Cordyline Roma 06 (also known as Cordyline Burgundy). It seemed that they were determined to find differences where none existed and as far as we were concerned, Cordyline Roma 06 was a generic copy with no unique, distinguishing characteristics. We could not understand why our repeated requests for a blind trial to see if the two were distinguishable were ignored.

Well, ain’t DNA just a wonderful thing? We were wrong in describing Cordyline Roma 06 as a generic copy. Not a copy at all. It has absolutely perfectly matched DNA to Cordyline Red Fountain. Identical DNA.

We had plants DNA tested in a specialist DNA laboratory in Australia. The comparator variety, Cordyline Pinot Noir showed in excess of 5000 markers of difference. Cordyline Red Fountain and Cordyline Roma 06 showed… none. None at all.

This surely disproves the claim made repeatedly by Malcolm Woolmore that he went back and repeated the original cross. We were always sure that was not true, because of aspects of that original cross known only to us. He did not have access to the original breeder plants we had here, so he would have used different parent plants and the DNA would have shown that.

So what now? In the light of this independent, scientific evidence, will the NZ Plant Variety Rights’ Office review the original application and data submitted and reject the original proposal? This is what we thought should have happened from the very beginning. DNA evidence is now deemed sufficient to send somebody to jail for life in murder trials. We are not suggesting that this would be an appropriate action in this case, but we are waiting to see what will happen next.

New Zealand is a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties in Plants (UPOV) so this situation will not sit in isolation but is already receiving international scrutiny.

Cordyline Red Fountain and Cordyline Burgundy - side by side garden centre plants, apparently with identical DNA

Cordyline Red Fountain and Cordyline Burgundy – side by side garden centre plants, apparently with identical DNA

Tikorangi News

Tikorangi-Butter-paper

Welcome to the first edition of Tikorangi News which your council has undertaken to write in response to complaints from a few local residents that they don’t know what is happening in their district. At New Lympouth District Council, we take our duty to consult local residents very seriously and we hope this newsletter will fill the gap. We would like to thank the guardians of the old Tikorangi Dairy Factory for making their butter wrapper available to use as letterhead, reminding us of the semi rural nature of the area. regular_smile

036• We at Council are deeply aware that traffic is a major issue for many Tikorangi residents but we have AWESOME news. We have brokered an arrangement between companies, their subcontractors and Tikorangi School. Starting next week, the trucks will be calling in to the school where the students will be painting happy faces on all the vehicles. We are confident that smiley faces will bring a smile to all Tikorangi residents as the trucks pass by. Drivers have also been instructed to give a cheery wave as they pass. regular_smile regular_smile regular_smile

• Graymooth Petroleum have told us that they are very, very sorry that their drilling rig on Kowhai B allegedly broke their consented noise levels on one occasion and they promise they are doing all they can to remedy this situation. We are confident that this is the case because they even returned our wet bus ticket to us. The good news is that they have nearly finished this well and may shortly be moving their rig to the Stratford area which means it will no longer be our concern. sad_smile

???????????????????????????????• Tikorangi residents will be as thrilled as Council is that the Len Lye Centre has been given the green light. It is only because of Toad Energy’s wonderful generosity that this project is going ahead. In recognition of the special relationship between Toad and Tikorangi, residents will be guaranteed free entry to the new centre when it opens for a period of five years. regular_smile
???????????????????????????????• A few residents have suggested that Greymooth are not abiding by their declared number of light vehicles on their Kowhai B site. We are pleased to report that Greymooth have assured us that they are abiding by all conditions of their consent. We suggest that busybody residents who have counted up to 17 light vehicles parked in the two carparks at the same time should perhaps find something better to do with their time and get a real job. There are only six light vehicles a day travelling to the Kowhai B site. Similarly, Toad have assured us that they too are keeping strictly to the terms of their consent and there are only 8 light vehicles and 3 heavy vehicles driving on to their Mangahewa C site in any 24 hour period during drilling activities.

???????????????????????????????regular_smileThe next edition of the Tikorangi News will be called the Todger News after your council successfully negotiated a sponsorship deal with both Toad Energy and Greymooth Petroleum. This is good news because it means the special needs of Tikorangi will no longer be a drain on the other ratepayers of the district.

• Residents are reminded that they are best to contact the company concerned in the first instance when they have worries. This cuts out the middle man and companies can let us know what queries they have logged. We recently requested the logs from both Toad and Greymooth and were thrilled at the positive entries.
“Thanks so much for our awesome new road. Now we can speed down it at 120km an hour” said one Tikorangi East Road resident (Good news, Otaraoa Rd people. Roadworks will be starting in your area soon!)
“ Thanks guys for the generous gift of a hamper. My wife and I loved it. Now we no longer notice the sound of your generators and drilling rig at night.”
“Don’t take any notice of the carpers and moaners, guys. These few greenies are probably the same types who spend their time buggerising around on Facebook and besmirching the reputation of NLDC. We think you’re great. I will be back at work next week, by the way.”
It was wonderful to read so many positive comments and to know that the companies are taking such good care of you all. ???????????????????????????????

• On a more serious note, Council is reducing the affected party zone for new sites to those people whose residences are 20 metres or less from the site. This brings it in line with the notional boundary ruling in the District Scheme where noise levels are monitored at a distance of 20 metres from the nearest neighbouring houses. Effects from this change should be less than minor and no parties will be adversely affected. The rural character of the area will not be changed by this minor amendment.

• Big thanks go to both companies and their active programme of retro fitting double glazing in houses where the owners do not even have affected party status. This is a wonderfully generous move on their part and one which they are under no obligation to make. regular_smile

???????????????????????????????cry_smile We are acting on concerns raised by an elected councillor at a recent Council meeting regarding malcontents in Tikorangi “besmirching the reputation of the Council”. He suggested a public education programme might be required. Council categorically rejects any insinuation that this may be a case of shooting the messenger and is investigating models of re-education programmes pioneered in the Soviet gulags, the Chinese re-education through labour programmes and the Vietnamese voluntary relocation strategies of the 1970s. We are confident that any troublemaking dissidents in Tikorangi can and will be dealt with promptly and efficiently and will no longer be able to embarrass your council and to sully the reputation of Taranaki.

• Finally, in response to community concerns, we at New Lympouth District Council can assure Tikorangi residents that as far as disruption as a result of the petrochemical industry is concerned, we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to find where the buck stops. We think it may be with central government but we are mindful it may even be international – maybe WTO or OPEC.

• Kia kaha Tikorangi! And remember, you drive a car so you can’t complain. regular_smile

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Saving Tikorangi – what could Councils do?

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Following on from my post on Tikorangi Lost – how a little community is being sacrificed to the petrochemical dollar, I suggest the following:

1) Stop hiding behind legislation. If the ability for Councils to take a lead role in planning and managing development is not possible under existing legislation and regulation, then admit publicly that is the case and immediately approach central Government seeking change. It appears that the current regulations may be inadequate to meet such major development.
2) Set a moratorium on new consents and major variations to existing consents while an overall plan is put in place and pending the final report from the Commissioner for the Environment.
3) Develop a plan for the district involving local residents as well as the companies.
4) Review the extent to which the use of non-notified consents and the virtual elimination of “affected party status” has led to a culture of exclusion bordering on secrecy between companies and councils whereby local residents only find out what is happening after the consents have been approved.
5) Appoint a residents’ advocate.
6) Give residents a voice, the chance to give a report card, victim impact report even, on what the personal impact has been. Stop ignoring them.
7) Initiate a study into levels of stress and anxiety in local residents as a result of the rapid petrochemical development.
8) Create a single point of contact at Council.
9) Impose a 70km speed limit throughout areas of Tikorangi affected by petrochem dev – ie from Princess St through Ngatimaru Rd to Kowhai A site, Inland North Rd as far as Otaraoa Rd, Otaraoa Rd as far inland as Mckee, Tikorangi Rd from the intersection with Otaraoa Rd to Mangahewa E site.
10) Cease issuing permits for well sites in excess of what a site is suitable for and in excess of what companies have actually planned. This is effectively an open mandate for them to do whatever they want in the future.
11) Do not allow existing use as a reason for granting major variations, as was done with the increase in site area for Mangahewa C, setting a dangerous precedent. If a company applies for use which is beyond the capacity of their site at the time, that should be the company’s problem and not a reason to allow them to hugely expand the site.
12) Conduct independent traffic counts including specific attention to heavy loads and hazardous loads.
13) Define community consultation. A letter box drop is not community consultation. Nor is dropping a large bundle of papers on a local resident or organisation without explanation or interpretation. Indeed, a meeting where a company presents its plans to local residents is not community consultation either. It is merely communicating decisions already made and is therefore community liaison.
14) As the intensity of development escalates, the chances of a major incident greatly increase. This could be an on-site incident such as a well blow out or major malfunction, or a traffic accident involving heavy vehicles, often carrying dangerous goods. Many locals would like advice as to emergency actions in the event of such an incident. Put simply, which way should we drive to get out?
15) Actively discourage Greymouth’s pepper-potting of well sites. Do not permit them to establish separate well sites a few hundred metres apart. Todd have chosen to establish fewer sites and directionally drill. While the impact on neighbours is therefore much higher, the total number of people adversely affected is much lower. Allowing companies to pepper pot sites impacts negatively on many more people and on the environment.
16) Take best practice from one company as the required benchmark for other companies. Todd Energy have made major improvements to flaring, reducing the length of time flaring took place on their third well on Mangahewa C site, to under 30 hours, if my memory is correct. This is a massive change from the months of flaring previously and the improvement for locals was major as a result. If Todd can do it, so can other companies. Similarly, Todd maintains extremely high standards of community liaison and acts on complaints. This does not appear to be true with all companies.
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17) Acknowledge that in the countryside, the norm is silence at night. Setting allowable limits for industrial noise, pays no heed to the severe degradation of quality of life when low grade industrial noise permeates the environment 24 hours a day. The same goes for light. The norm in the country is darkness at night. The well sites are very brightly lit.
18) Look at the whole picture, not just the well sites. The construction is a major intrusion and the infrastructure seems to have bypassed Councils’ notice altogether – the pipelines, the roadworks, the power supplies, the use of helicopters, the seismic surveys. There is layer upon layer.
19) Stop consents being merely a checklist of boxes to be ticked. Look at applications in the context of what is already happening, what the cumulative effect will be and how it all fits with a development plan drawn up for the area.
20) Undertake regular Assessments of Environmental Effects and formal reviews of resource consents. Recognise that when companies pursue a very active programme of encouraging residents to complain direct to them, that it means they can fudge the extent of resident complaints. Indeed, it appears to have been so effective that it can entirely escape New Plymouth District Council’s attention. Council then acts on the unverified assumption that there are no significant problems.
21) Seek external verification of company reports on environmental effects. Do not rely solely on information supplied by the companies and “visual inspections”.
22) Change the way complaints are recorded at Council. Complaints from Tikorangi residents about noise, light, traffic, the state of the roads, littering and assorted other presenting issues are more likely to be about petrochemical development than about anything else, yet they appear to be recorded under a host of other categories.
23) Monitor closely what is happening to property values and the length of time it takes to sell property in Tikorangi. These are another indicator of the health and desirability of the area.
24) Require that sites have screen planting put in as part of the initial site preparation. These industrial sites are an eyesore in a rural area and detract hugely from the visual quality of the environment. Within two or three years of initial site works, that planting should screen sites from view. Take the ability to screen from view into account when approving a site. In other words, hide them. Screen planting may also absorb some of the noise.
25) Recognise that the precedent set by allowing Greymouth Petroleum to position an 8 well site (Kowhai B) immediately on the boundary of the Foreman farm and about 300 metres from Graham Foreman’s home, without his agreement, has set a new bar for permissable intrusion. Many locals now fear that they could suddenly find a rig on their boundary, too.
26) Write a code of conduct for petrochemical companies, even if it has to be voluntary.
27) Independently verify claims made by companies and recognise that the consultants employed by those companies work for them. They are not independent consultants and their advice needs to be considered in that context.

In short, do some actual planning for once.

These, these types of measures are what I have been seeking for over fifteen years since I first sat in Mayor Claire Stewart’s office with the then so-called “planners”. It appears that nothing has ever been done. Councils have abdicated any role or responsibility for planning and leave it to the petrochemical companies.

Tikorangi and other similar areas are paying an unacceptably high price for Councils’ willingness to pander to the powerful petrochemical companies and the petrochemical dollar. The problems are only going to escalate with rampant and uncontrolled growth of the industry.

Genuine resident Tikorangi goat. Draw your own conclusions

Genuine resident Tikorangi goat. Draw your own conclusions

Not one but three new Jury magnolias this year

The sublime blooms on Fairy Magnolia® White

The sublime blooms on Fairy Magnolia® White


It is not often that we have three major new releases coming out in one year. And, to be honest, it takes so many years of trialling and then building up that by the time they are released, they no longer feel “new” to us. But there is a surge of pride with these three hybrids of Mark’s breeding.
Magnolia Honey Tulip, our new yellow version of Black Tulip

Magnolia Honey Tulip, our new yellow version of Black Tulip


Mark is very particular about deciduous magnolias and had only named three – all in red tones. The fourth, to be released this year, is his first in the yellows. Honey Tulip™ is a golden honey version of Black Tulip. Given the somewhat floppy nature of most yellow magnolias with their soft petals and tendency to become paler as the flowering season progresses, we think Honey Tulip represents an advance in flower form, petal substance and retention of its colour intensity through the season. In New Zealand, where most yellow magnolias flower at the same time as they come into leaf, it is to Honey Tulip’s credit that it flowers on bare wood. Trials suggest that it will remain a smaller growing tree.

Fairy Magnolia® is the branding attached to our new range of michelias. These have been reclassified as magnolias but we wanted to differentiate these new michelias from the usual evergreen magnolias which are the leather-leafed grandiflora types. These are much lighter in growth and fill a different role in the garden and landscape. The first release was Fairy Magnolia® Blush.

Fairy Magnolia Cream - many flowers over a long season

Fairy Magnolia Cream – many flowers over a long season


Fairy Magnolia® Cream is a free flowering, strongly fragrant pure cream, opening in early spring. While of similar breeding and performance to Blush, its foliage is a brighter green and its peak flowering season extends into months. Each bloom measures at least 10cm across. Cream will take clipping well to keep it hedged, compact or topiaried or it can be left to form a bushy ,large shrub around 4 metres tall by 2.5 metres wide.

Fairy Magnolia® White (pictured at the top) comes down a different breeding chain and is a selection from a run of seedlings we have been referring to as the Snow Flurry series. The fragrant, purest white flowers are sublime, opening from brown velvet buds. It flowers earlier than Blush and Cream, starting in winter, so it is not likely to be as hardy as those two. However, we think it will prove to be hardier than existing doltsopa selections, making a garden friendly, improved substitute for “Silver Clouds”. The foliage is smaller and the plant shows no signs of defoliating after flowering (a major drawback to many doltsopas). It is much bushier in growth and will ultimately reach around 5m by 4m if not trimmed.

All plants will be available in New Zealand in limited quantities and some will be available overseas. These plants are produced under licence (in other words we only have small numbers to sell to personal customers later in the year when we open for plant sales) so ask your local garden centre. Overseas readers may like to check out Anthony Tesselaar Plants for availability.

Magnolia (deciduous) Honey Tulip

Magnolia (deciduous) Honey Tulip


Fairy Magnolia Cream

Fairy Magnolia Cream

A Tale of Two Plants

For the latest update, check out “A Case of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

How we have been ground down by opportunism and bureaucracy
Cordyline Red Fountain - CopyCordyline-BurgundyCan you tell the difference between these two plants? No? That is hardly a surprise to us and we should be experts because one of them is our own Cordyline Red Fountain.

The growing trials - can you pick the difference?

The growing trials – can you pick the difference?

Red Fountain was the lucky result of a sustained breeding programme spanning decades by both the late Felix Jury and Mark Jury. When it was first released, it was unique. There were no other clumping cordylines with rich burgundy leaves which arch outwards. We applied for, and received, the equivalent of a patent (Plant Variety Rights in NZ and Plant Breeders Rights internationally) first in New Zealand and subsequently in Australia, USA, Europe, South Africa, the UK and Canada. This means that nobody is allowed to propagate the plant for sale except under licence and provides the opportunity for a return to the breeder.

Father - Felix Jury (d.1997)  in a patch of Cordyline Red Fountain

Father – Felix Jury (d.1997) in a patch of Cordyline Red Fountain

When Malcolm Woolmore of Lyndale Nurseries/Kiwi Flora in Auckland released a look-a-like plant, we were intensely irritated. This is a man who loudly proclaims that he supports NZ plant breeders – but not, apparently, breeders who are not his own clients. He didn’t mind attempting to compete at home and internationally with us, using a plant which few, if any, can tell apart. He named it Cordyline Burgundy while ours is marketed on the major USA market as Cordyline Festival Burgundy (ref footnote 1). The similarity in names did not seem a coincidence.

and son - Mark Jury with Cordyline Red Fountain

and son – Mark Jury with Cordyline Red Fountain

When he applied for Plant Variety Rights here and overseas, we were confident that our interests would be protected. After all, the legislation specifies that a plant must be distinctively different (ref footnote 2) to be able to be patented and his had no distinctive differences that we could see, nor indeed anybody else to whom we showed his plant.

In this country, plant variety rights are decided by the Deputy Commissioner of the NZ PVR Office, a very small division of the new super Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. When we started to suspect that the Deputy Commissioner was determined to find differences between Red Fountain and the ring-in, we began to ask for a blind test. That is where plants of both varieties of the same size and age and in the same pots are mixed up and a group of suitable people are asked to separate them into the two varieties. That, we thought, was a fair test – they were either alike or able to be accurately differentiated. Our requests were ultimately ignored.

Growing trials (pictured above, photo 3) were carried out at an independent location. Apparently, none of the professionals or staff who looked after these growing trials could pick any difference between the two varieties.

In due course, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Chris Barnaby, ruled that Cordyline Roma 06 (marketed as Cordyline Burgundy) was distinctively different and he awarded it PVR. This was based on the trial and examination by measurement of 8 leaves of Red Fountain and 8 leaves of Roma 06. Apparently when you get out the tape measure, the pedicel on Roma 06 is a little shorter, when measured over 8 leaves. The pedicel is the narrowing at the base of the leaf where it grows from the central stem. There is no difference in colour, shape or growth habit.

In the Examination Report it is even admitted that when the 16 leaves were mixed up, the examiners could not tell them apart. In other words, no customer is ever going to be able to tell the plants apart and precious few growers or plantspeople will either but the Deputy Commissioner was not going to let that stop him from granting equal rights to this identical looking variety.

We were stunned by this decision.

Our agents, Anthony Tesselaar Plants, immediately lodged an appeal on our behalf, reiterating earlier requests for a blind test and questioning the sample size for the assessment (eight leaves only of each). It became clear that despite having made the original decision, the review was also to be carried out by the same individual, Mr Barnaby. Both our agents and we contacted Mr Barnaby’s superior, the Commissioner, to table our concerns at the lack of independence in the review process and to ask for a blind test. It took a long time and, we assume, a question from the Minister’s office before the Commissioner replied saying nothing of note and declining to get involved.

We went to see our local Member of Parliament, Jonathan Young who appeared to grasp the issues quickly. He raised the matter with the Minister, but all that happened was that we received a reply couched in such bureaucratese that we burst out laughing. “Yes Minister” style, probably emanating from the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. It satisfied our MP but not us.

Side by side at the garden centre. Is the customer likely to see any difference?

Side by side at the garden centre. Is the customer likely to see any difference?

The Deputy Commissioner completely ignored repeated requests for a blind test and ruled in favour of his earlier decision. No surprises there. To rule any other way would be to admit that he had made a mistake earlier, or that the comparison testing wasn’t adequate and that did not seem likely.

All that is left would be to take the matter to court – us vs the Government of New Zealand. We do not see that as an option. We lack their budget and the costs could well exceed the royalty returns even if the court ruled in our favour.

We no longer have any confidence in the Plant Variety Rights system in this country. Clearly all PVR has become is a rather expensive marketing tool controlled by a querulous individual in government employment. The only reason to continue with existing PVRs we hold is to honour contractual agreements already in place. It has become clear it offers no protection at all to existing intellectual property rights.

We have been disappointed at the willingness of Malcolm Woolmore, through his company Kiwi Flora, to take advantage of years of plant breeding and years of establishing a new plant in the international marketplace by releasing a copy product. He claims to have repeated the original cross (banksii x pumilio). For technical reasons of which only a few are aware, we doubt it. To us, it looks as if it is just a seedling from our Red Fountain.

Notes:
1) The marketing name of Cordyline Festival Burgundy for USA was to avoid confusion with an existing plant – Pennisetum Purple Fountain.
2) Distinctive differences, for the purposes of a plant patent, include specified minimal distances between key genetic characteristics.

For the record, in the photos at the top, Cordyline Red Fountain is to the left, Cordyline Burgundy to the right. In the photo below, Cordyline Burgundy (also known as Roma 06) is at the front and Red Fountain is at the back.

Postscript Sunday 27 January
I fully expected Malcolm Woolmore to come out swinging. In fact I would probably have been disappointed had he not, forever wondering whether he had read the piece above. I cut and paste the section from his February eBrief received today, Sunday 27 January because the link to his site appears to be faulty, taking you instead to his December eBrief. I have no desire to enter debate with Mr Woolmore so my only comment is that I will leave it up to readers to decide. Go and have a look at the two plants side by side in your local garden centre.

A One Sided Tale of Two Plants
Read Abbie Jury’s blog or Google Chris Barnaby, Cordyline Burgundy, Malcolm Woolmore, Lyndale Nurseries and heaps of other words and you will read a one sided story titled ‘A Tale of Two Plants’.
Mrs Jury does not seem to share UPOVS (International Union for the Protection of new Varieties of plants) respect for the Deputy Commissioner of the NZ PVR Office, Chris Barnaby. Chris, a past Chairman of UPOV, has been maligned and misunderstood in an attack that some might consider libellous.
I will not comment further, as Mrs Jury, I believe, says more than enough for most to question whether her story is complete and unbiased.
Suffice to say, that the intention to grant Australian Plant Breeders Rights for Cordyline ROMA 06 or Cordyline ‘Burgundy’ was published last year, after independently being assessed and found to be distinct.
That is, in addition to the decision made in New Zealand.
For the record, Cordyline ‘Burgundy’ has resulted from a collaborative breeding programme established between Robert Harrison of Greenhill’s Propagation Nursery (Vic. Australia) and Lyndale.
It is one of four plants selected, of which you will hear more about at least two. (One of which is dwarf). Cordyline ‘Burgundy’ is represented overseas by Kiwiflora.
Our breeding program did not take decades, but it did involve the application of embryo rescue and other technology.
(More on this when others cultivars are released).
Kind regards
Malcolm & The Lyndale Team”

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

The latest rig near us, photographed from Ngatimaru Road

The latest rig near us, photographed from Ngatimaru Road


589 Otaraoa Road,
RD43, Waitara
jury@xtra.co.nz Phone 06 754 6671
December 30, 2012

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
PO Box 10-241
Wellington 6143
New Zealand

pce@pce.parliament.nz

Dear Dr Wright,
Hearing you speak on National Radio recently about your interim report on fracking was like a breath of fresh air. I refer particularly to your comment referencing the proliferation of industrial sites in the countryside and the impact on local residents.

It seems to me that two critical areas that have fallen through the cracks are:

1) The total absence of any public sector planning. Planning is all done by private companies and all the public sector does is to respond to applications by applying the relevant legislation. So there is no overview of development. The location, pace, nature and management are all determined by individual private companies.

2) With that has come the total absence of any public sector duty of care for local residents. Any care is entirely at the whim and discretion of private companies and woefully inadequate. Worse is that an ethos has developed which is deeply unsympathetic to complaints from local residents. At its most extreme, this takes the form of public vilification of individuals.

We are immediate neighbours to the Mangahewa C site in Tikorangi and every piece of heavy machinery passes along two of our road boundaries. The latest rig is both visible and, at times, audible to us. We have a large garden which we open to the public and the negative impact of recent development has been so extreme, that the company concerned ceases road operations when we have a coach tour booked in for a garden visit. At those times, it is as if the off switch has been flicked but it is a stark reminder of how bad things are the rest of the time. I now garden wearing an iPod in an attempt to mute the noise.

I have no confidence in the ability of local councils to effectively monitor and manage development and am frankly alarmed at suggestions that Taranaki be paraded as a model for successful practice. I have been lobbying for over 15 years for councils to take a more proactive role in managing development and mitigating the negative effects on local residents but the councils remain an impenetrable brick wall and appear oblivious to issues and, at worst, antagonistic to opposition and to complaints.

Of considerable concern is the publicly supportive position of the petrochemical industry taken by the CEO of the Taranaki Regional Council, Basil Chamberlain. I strongly believe that the CEO of the monitoring body MUST be seen to be neutral and independent.

Fracking has been taking place on the adjacent property for about three years now but it was only this year, and only at our request, that testing of our bore water started. Yet apparently we have the only deep water bore close to that site. Three years to set monitoring in place is not best practice.

Definitions of affected party zones appear to be at the discretion of councils. Fifteen years ago, it was a one kilometre radius. At some point, Regional Council apparently contracted that zone to 300 metres, New Plymouth District Council even less. In the countryside, 300 metres is not far at all. This has had the effect of hugely reducing the number of people defined as “affected parties” which is decidedly beneficial for the companies but has only negative effects on local residents.

Consents are for such a long time that much can change in the interim, including environmental expectations, yet it appears that the conditions of the original consent stand for the duration. I understand old sites have been reopened under original consents. Too much reliance is placed on the “goodwill” and “good practice” of the companies to respond to issues during the consented periods. And once consent is given, it sets the precedent for renewal.

When the Mangahewa C site was first applied for, I had to fight hard to be ruled an affected party. The NPDC planning officers were unhelpful and uncooperative in the extreme. Once we had that status, we were presented with a document to sign. We wanted to sign consent for the first well only and then review it. We were told that was not an option and unless we signed unconditionally, it would go to the Environment Court and that we would have to fight it there. Nobody suggested we seek independent advice.

I could not face the time and energy it would take to go to the Environment Court so we signed. I have only recently found a copy of the information which prompted us to sign. Our concern was traffic. We were informed that there was a remote possibility of up to 8 wells being drilled over a 20 year time span and that once drilling commenced, a maximum of 3 heavy vehicles and 8 light vehicles a day would pass our road boundaries. Once in production, the light vehicle movements would drop to 3 per day, the same as heavy vehicles. I recall it seemed churlish to be difficult over a mere 6 additional vehicles a day passing us.

In the time since that affected party consent was signed, one initial exploratory well has ballooned out to at least 9 additional planned wells (we are on to number 3) on the neighbour’s property and a further 8 multi well head site down the road, all over the next 5 years. That makes 19 or 20 wells over a period of 7 years (far from the “unlikely possibility” of up to 8 over 20 years). Every piece of transport passes our two road boundaries with a sharp 90 degree turn and a hill so the huge volume of trucking movements could not be noisier and more intrusive.

We are now assuming that in the references to between 6 and 11 additional vehicles each day during drilling and production phases, they omitted to add the important words: “before 7.30am each day with an unspecified number thereafter”. That is closer to what our reality is now.

Compensation for landowners and affected parties should not be left to the discretionary largesse of individual companies who often ring-fence it with confidentiality agreements.
It is not appropriate to think that continuing to allow the companies to play Santa Claus is all that is required. Too often, for affected parties it merely consists of a hamper here, free tickets to a show there, maybe tickets to Australia for an event if they really like you.

The development levies back in the days of Think Big projects may not have been a perfect system of recompensing on a larger scale, but they did at least keep grants at arm’s length. The current system where individual companies get to make grants is all too redolent of Santa Claus again and raises doubt about the independence of recipient councils. Todd chose to make a generous grant to New Plymouth District Council for their favoured project of the new Len Lye Centre. As a result, I doubt very much that any NPDC councillor is going to be critical of anything that company does.

Over fifteen years ago when it first became clear that our district may face enormous petrochem development, I sat in the then mayor’s office with her and the town planners and pleaded with them to adopt a proactive position in planning for the potential development. I pointed out to them that there was nobody else to look after the interests of local residents and that the current model of the petrochem companies picking off areas and then working with individual landowners locked in to confidentiality agreements had the effect of pitting neighbour against neighbour.

Nothing happened and the only thing that has changed is that the development is happening.

I attempted several times to raise the same matters with the next mayor and also presented a submission to the full council showing them what the effect was and begging them to look into what could be done to minimise the negative effects for local residents. They commissioned a report but nothing changed.

I have given up trying to talk to councils. There is no will for councillors and their officials to see anything negative.

If you are back in this area, we would be very pleased to meet you and to take you to visit some of the other affected residents in our immediate area. That is considerably more than anybody connected to the local councils has ever done.

I have posted four blogs to my website, if you are interested in reading any of these.

1) No problems with petrochem development in Taranaki???
2) Living in petrochemical heartland
3) Tikorangi Notes; Friday 20 January 2012
4) Tikorangi – the new Texas?
5) And three short You Tube clips attempting in a minor way to catch the flavour of what living here is now like.
Relentless noise
The Park, Tikorangi the Jury Garden
Rimu Walk, Tikorangi the Jury Garden.
Yours sincerely,
Abbie Jury

NB This letter replaces the earlier letter dated December 4. In the time since, we have discovered there are to be an additional 17 wells drilled close to us by Todd Energy over the next 5 years. I also found a copy of the “affected party” consent we signed in 2006 and the information provided which led to us signing that consent.